Making DAVAA’s voice louder
Since our AGM in February, the Association has been very busy behind the scenes working on various projects. From workshops and strategy meetings to presentations and debates, we’ve been active in all things tourism and hospitality to make sure we are at the forefront in the issues that affect our members from both a local and national standpoint.
Following on from the Scottish Government’s national discussion on the potential introduction of a ‘tourism tax’ (Nov 2018 to Jan 2019), a paper was published with its findings. Our Chair, Mike Metcalfe, attended one of the consultation meetings and DAVAA contributed towards the report. As discussed in earlier communications, our stance was against the introduction of a national tourism tax. The high VAT rate we pay; compared to our European competitors, the recent rises in business rates and the potential detrimental effect it could have on SME’s were all sited as reasons. There is also the worry that any potential levy funds raised at a local level might not be accurately ring fenced to be put back into tourism. As it happens politics got in the way and just after the papers publication the Government passed legislation that would allow local authorities to introduce a ‘transient levy fee’ (tourism tax).
Assurances from our local authorities say that there are no plans to introduce the any levy. But we all know that things can change and DAVAA will keep a keen eye on any developments that may occur. The Committee decided that Olwyn Jack from Duntrune House should take the lead on this subject and monitor the situation closely.
Scottish Tourism Alliance
Keeping abreast of issues that affect our businesses not just locally, but nationally, is something we are keen to do. Up until now Dundee and Angus has not been particularly well represented on the national stage when it comes to involvement in debates on issues that affect tourism. With a growing tourism sector in the area we need to make our voice heard. To that end, we joined the Scottish Tourism Alliance back in March. The STA is the largest member organisation for tourism businesses in Scotland and the leading representative body for its tourism industry. Their focus is to shape a vibrant tourism industry for Scotland’s visitors and people and influence the creation of industry-friendly policy through evidence to enable Scotland’s tourism industry to reach its growth potential.
DAVAA recently attended a workshop, organised by the STA, to contribute to the formation of Scotland’s National TourismStrategy 2020 -2030. V&A Dundee and Hospitalfield House also attended to represent Dundee and Angus.
Another national body we have been keen to improve our links with is the Hospitality Industry Trust. Established in 1994, HIT Scotland has supported literally tens of thousands of people working and studying in the hospitality industry in Scotland to broaden their skills and experience by taking advantage of a tailored learning experience offered through the HIT scholarship programme. Each year they host the ‘Discovery Dinner’ to raise funds to fund the scholarships. Our members – Dundee & Angus College, Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa, Malmaison and Doubletree by Hilton Dundee sit on the Board that plans and delivers the dinner each year. The Committee invited HIT Chair, David Cochrane, along to our April meeting to hear about the good work the trust does. DAVAA encourage anyone working in hospitality who is keen to progress with the development of themselves or business to consider applying for a scholarship. Please see HIT Scotland website for more details.