Scottish ministers are reportedly considering introducing a “cruise tax” to raise money from tourists. The tax would apply to cruise ships docked in Scottish ports.
Money raised from the potential tourist tax would be used to fund local services under the plans.
Councils would also be given the power to tax tourists who choose to stay overnight in hotels.
According to the Daily Record, council leaders agreed that a cruise terminal daily tax should be introduced.
Tourists at popular Scottish cruise destinations such as Leith, Orkney and Shetland would have to pay the tax.
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Scotland is a popular cruise destination and over 800,000 cruise tourists visited in 2019 according to Visit Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government will be introducing a Local Visitor Levy Bill to Parliament and if passed, it will give local authorities a discretionary power to apply a levy on overnight visitor stays in accommodation in their area.
“Additional funds raised will be for local authorities to use, helping to fund relevant local activities and services.”
They added that council leaders had requested that cruise passengers were also taxed as part of the Bill.
The Scottish Government added that it would consider putting a tax on cruise passengers as part of the Bill.
However, the Scottish Tourism Alliance said that additional taxes on tourists would be “very unwelcome”.
CBI Scotland added that the tax would be a “bitter blow” to the Scottish economy after the pandemic.
Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “Ultimately the best way to sustainably fund public services is to have a thriving business sector that delivers investment, growth and prosperity.”
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Venice has gone one step further by banning all cruise ships from entering the city lagoon, forcing cruise companies to bus in tourists from other ports.
Cruise ships can be controversial as many local residents feel that holidaymakers don’t spend much money.
Many cruise passengers get all their food onboard and are unlikely to spend money in the destination.
However, some business owners in port areas are opposed to taxes as they benefit from the cruise industry.