Isle of Skye tourists '˜should pay a tax'

TOURSITS should be paying a tax to pay for more facilities on the Isle of Skye, a local businessman has claimed.

Cuillins mountain range is one of Skye's most popular tourist attractions. Picture: Contributed

Roger Booth says the island would benefit from a tourism tax, claiming much of his time is spent tidying up litter - and human waste - at the beauty spot of Quairaing, where he operates his food van,

He claims a small fee charged at the Skye Bridge would help pay for better facilities, including more public toilets and better car parking.

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Mr Booth said: “Even £1 a person, I am sure people wouldn’t complain.

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“It would be put into the island economy for better toilets, better waste facilities, better parking facilities and better roads.”

The Quiraing is a popular destination for hillwalkers.

Mr Booth added: “True walkers want to come here and enjoy it and not see the mess and be driven off and not want to come back.”

Highland Council said a change in laws would be needed for a new tax.

A spokeswoman said: “We would need legislative change to be able to levy any tourist tax so this is not an option currently available to Highland Council.”

However, David Richardson, development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses’ in the Highlands and Islands, believes such a tax would turn away tourists.

He said: “They are our customers and you don’t tax your customers.”

The Isle of Skye has been experiencing a surge in tourist numbers and recently Rob Ware, secretary of tourism group Skyeconnect, said they needed a 30-year strategy plan.

There has been complaints that tourists are relieving themselves, particularly in Uig where the toilets have been out of order this year.