Last updates:
27 March 2020 |
Scottish Government has halted the introduction of the visitor levy bill.
9 January 2020 |
Updated content in Scotland paragraph to reflect Highland Council now commencing a study into how a tax could be designed and implemented, following support to their consultation.

While best efforts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information, the information displayed should be used as guidance only.

Although no destinations currently levy a tourist tax, some local authorities (councils) in England and Scotland have expressed an interest. Further information below.

England and Wales

The Local Government Association is undertaking research on whether councils should be given the authority to implement a tax through primary legislation, should they wish. As there is unlikely to be primary legislation in the short term, some councils are considering implementing a tax through the existing Business Improvement District mechanism.

The following councils have expressed an interest in implementing a tourist tax (potentially between £1 and £2 per person/room per night):

  • Bath
  • Birmingham (only for the period of the 2022 Commonwealth Games)
  • Cornwall
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Oxford

Currently, there are no approved proposals to implement a tax.


[UPDATE March 2020: The visitor levy bill due to be introduced in 2020 has been halted by the Scottish Government. We are seeking clarification as to whether the bill will be reinstated and any subsequent time frame. If the bill is reinstated, the delay is likely to mean that local authorities in Scotland (should they wish) will not be able to implement a tourist tax until 2022 at the earliest due to legislative process.]

Original text

The national government is intending to introduce primary legislation in 2020 that will give local authorities in Scotland the power to implement a tax should they wish. This power will not extend to national park authorities or community councils. The name of the tax is yet to be confirmed but the working name is transient visitor levy.

The national government has said “the timescales for Parliamentary scrutiny of a Bill, and for the making of any secondary legislation which may be required, mean this power is not likely to be available to local authorities until the summer season of 2021 at the earliest.”   

To date, Edinburgh wish to implement a tax (see proposal below) and the Highland Council are studying how a tax may be designed and implemented, following a favourable consultation response in 2019 to a tax being introduced.

The national government consulted on the principles of a local discretionary transient visitor levy or tourist tax in autumn 2019 and produced an initial impact assessment. Our response to the consultation can be found here. The consultation will be used to inform and shape the principles of a transient visitor levy such as the level of autonomy given to local authorities, who the levy should apply to, the design of the levy and how the revenue is used. As a result, this could affect Edinburgh’s proposal below. The Government has published the findings of the consultation here.   

This consultation follows on from the national discussion in late 2018/early 2019 which we took part in. We have also been in contact with the national government prior to this consultation given our expertise on how tourism taxes are implemented across Europe and some of our work can be seen in this paper. Our lobbying priorities have also been considered (notice, reciprocity, transparency, collection process and impact on competitiveness). 


The city council has approved the proposal below, subject to enabling national legislation. This proposal could change depending on provisions in national legislation yet to be passed.

Euro conversion on 9 January 2020 for comparative purposes.

(all types of accommodation except campsites)
£ (€) per person, per night Exempt
(max 7 nights)
 2.00 (2.35) To be confirmed

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