Scots could soon be required to pay a tourist tax when holidaying at home. 

The new visitor levy – passed by MSPs earlier this year – will give local authorities the power to add a charge to stays in hotels and B&Bs. 

It is hoped the plans will raise millions which will then be reinvested in infrastructure such as roads, car parks and public toilets. 

Read more: Scottish tourism experts caution over tourism tax law

But the charge has been criticised as a "stealth tax" on Scots taking a staycation in their own country, who will be charged alongside tourists to Scotland

Here's what you need to know about Scotland's plans for a tourist tax, including how much you could be charged.

What is the tourist tax? Where will it be in place?

The tourist tax, also known as a visitor levy, will be an added charge to anyone booking an overnight stay such as a hotel, B&B, and holiday let. 

MSPs passed the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill in May 2024, allowing local authorities to add this charge to overnight accommodation.

Edinburgh is expected to be the first Scottish city to implement the tax, which could be introduced in 2026 at the earliest.

Read more: Majority of Edinburgh residents support tourist tax

Highland and Aberdeen were also supportive of the idea, and a Scottish Government consultation found 17 of Scotland's 32 councils backed a visitor levy.  

Many European cities, including Barcelona, Paris, and Venice, already have levies. While Manchester introduced its City Visitor Charge in April with a £1 per room per night fee. 

How much will the tourist tax cost?

The levy will be charged based on a percentage of a room booking, rather than per person. 

Each local authority will ultimately decide whether it will introduce the tax and how much it will be – but there is currently no upper limit.

In Edinburgh, the majority of people who responded to the council's consultation favoured a levy of up to £5 on a £100 room. 

The figure could be between 3-5% of an overnight stay, according to the survey, which received 3,941 responses mostly from residents

What is the point of a tourist tax?

The aim of a visitor levy is for tourists to pay a fee which will contribute towards an area's public spaces and services. 

The City of Edinburgh Council said it could raise around £25 million in extra funding for services and to subsidise tourism infrastructure. 

Council leader Cammy Day previously said: "We’re very proud that Edinburgh is one of the world’s most popular visitor destinations, but we’re equally aware that this success comes at a cost.

"A small overnight charge is common practice in other major cities and destinations, so why not here?

"The introduction of a levy will provide a funding stream that would be reinvested in the city and our infrastructure, to the benefit of our visitors and, crucially, the people who live here in our great Capital city all year round."

Why are people against a tourist tax? 

There are fears a tourist tax could do damage to tourism in Scotland, and punish Scots for holidaying in their own nation.

 The Scottish Bed & Breakfast Association is calling for local authorities to boycott the tax as it said it will "discourage travel and tourism in Scotland and will lose our crucial tourism industry's competitiveness against Europe and England". 

The organisation's chairman David Weston said: "What is labelled as a visitor levy may be seen by Scottish people as more like a stealth tax on them. That is a significant new tax, and we don’t feel there has yet been enough informed public debate about it. This is a very high-risk new tax and needs the public fully aware and fully behind it to be sustainable.

"The thousands of small businesses that provide accommodation across Scotland - B&Bs, guesthouses, hotels and self-catering businesses - are worried about the effects of the levy."