VILN Tourism Bid Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know if my business is included in the Tourism BID?

There are circa 363 businesses included in the Inverness and Loch Ness Tourism BID. Aside from whether-or-not, a business is in the designated geographical area covered by the Tourism BID, there are two other criteria that determine if a business is included. The first is that only businesses, as detailed on the Highland Council Valuation Roll by the local Assessor, in the identified tourism sectors are included.

The other basis for inclusion is that only businesses with a non-domestic rateable value of £3,500 or above are included. This means that businesses without a non-domestic rateable value or those which are below the £3,500 threshold are exempt from paying the levy. However, they can if they so wish ‘opt–in’ by paying an annual fee and become a non-levy paying stakeholder. Only businesses included in the Tourism BID are liable to pay the levy, vote on the Business Plan and therefore whether-or-not to agree to the establishment of a Tourism BID company to deliver the Business Plan.

How will Loch Ness and Inverness benefit from a Tourism BID?

By working together as one destination the Tourism BID will deliver the following benefits:

* Improved destination marketing locally, nationally and internationally.
* Attract more conferences and business tourism to the area all year round.
* Promote and support existing and new sustainable events and festivals.
* Improvements in tourism infrastructure including the physical surroundings, facilities and services.
* Business development through a range of activities and business opportunities.
* A strong lobbying voice on local and national tourism issues that matter to local businesses.

Is a Tourism BID just another tax?

No, a Tourism BID is not a substitute for central or local government expenditure. All the money raised is devoted to financing a time-limited programme of projects and services to strengthen the local tourism economy. The levy is for use only in the T BID area and is controlled by the local businesses through the Board who ensure that the projects in the Business Plan, as agreed and voted for by the participating businesses, are delivered.

Who pays and who collects the money?

The Tourism BID levy payment will be made by occupiers only (eligible persons i.e. those liable to pay the non-domestic rate), with the exception of vacant premises when the property owner will be required to pay the levy. The ballot is held by the local authority or outsourced to a third party by the local authority. The Tourism BID levy is collected by the local authority into a ring-fenced account (called the BID Revenue Account) and passed to the Tourism BID Company in return for the delivery of the projects and services as set out in the Tourism BID Business Plan.

What is a levy?

A Tourism BID levy is a fair way of funding additional projects and services which the local authority is not required to provide. A banded scale of charges based upon the rateable value of the property at the time of ballot has been agreed by the Tourism BID Steering Group and is proposed as an equitable way of ensuring all businesses including those own multiple properties, participate in and contribute to the Tourism BID.

Can a Tourism BID reduce operating costs?

Yes, currently BIDS Scotland, the national organisation for delivering the Scottish Government’s BIDs programme is assisting BID companies in Scotland to support their local businesses through the collective procurement of services. The growing BIDs family in Scotland is enabling the collective purchasing power of all those businesses within BIDs to procure a variety of business services at competitive rates (see

How will businesses know the Tourism BID is working?

The Tourism BID Company will formally measure performance using an agreed set of indicators.

VILN TBid Frequently Asked Questions

How do you ensure Tourism BIDs add value?

To ensure that all projects paid for by the Tourism BID investment are additional to those delivered by Highland Council and other public agencies (eg. VisitScotland), and as an assurance that the current statutory levels of service to the area will be maintained after a successful ballot, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) will be agreed between Highland Council/ other public agencies and the Tourism BID company. The SLAs ensure that the Tourism BID meets legislative requirements to avoid duplication and substitution and also that any services the Tourism BID provides are truly additional.

How long does a Tourism BID run for?

In general, a Tourism BID operates for a five year period. The Tourism BID is 100% accountable to the local businesses.

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