MSP Alasdair Allan has been fiercely criticised by the Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT)
association for his call to tax motorhomes.
The body which represent island tourism businesses condemned his idea as “misguided,
ill-informed and damaging.”
The OHT insisted taxing tourists holidaying in the Western Isles is “wholly unacceptable.”
A survey this summer shows motorhome visitors spent an average of around £500 per
trip on food, drink, fuel, goods, arts, crafts and meals with businesses in the Outer
Motorhome tourists are worth £2 million per year to the Western Isles economy indicates
the study conducted by OHT.
The body said: “It is completely ill-advised for our MSP to suggest we impose a tax
on these visitors – his proposal, although it might raise £80,000 per annum, would
put at risk an annual spend of £2 million and the financial stability of our islands.”
They warned the local economy will lose out as motorhome visitors will simply go
elsewhere in the face of discriminatory taxes or levies.
Ian Fordham, chairman of
Outer Hebrides Tourism, said: “We have sought an urgent meeting with Dr Allan to
apprise him of the full facts of the situation, and to seek withdrawal of this proposal,
which will damage the reputation and economy of the Outer Hebrides.
“It is especially disappointing that he made this announcement without any dialogue
with Outer Hebrides Tourism, and a lot of negative coverage could have been avoided
if he had sought the balanced view of the situation.”
Mr Fordham added: “The root
cause of the issue is a lack of adequate ferry capacity and a lack of funds for the
local authority to invest in suitable facilities and infrastructure.
“We hope that Dr Allan will use his influence to address these major issues, which
in turn will benefit the whole population of the Outer Hebrides, and our visitors
Tourism industry slams Alasdair Allan over motorhome tax proposal