The following FAQs set out answers to many of the questions you may have in connection with the proposal to establish a Tourism Business Improvement District (Tourism BID) for Moray Speyside.
If you have questions that are not addressed by the following, please contact email@example.com – not only will this allow us to answer your question but we can also add your question to these FAQs to assist other businesses.
How do I know if my business is included in the Tourism BID?
There are around 385 businesses* included in the proposed Moray Speyside Tourism BID.
There are four criteria that determine if a business is included in the scope of the proposals:
- Your business is registered in Moray Speyside, the designated geographical area covered by the proposed Tourism BID.
- Your business is eligible to pay non-domestic rates, as detailed on the Moray Council Valuation Roll by the local Assessor (even if exempt).
- Your business has a non-domestic rateable value of £2,000 or above.
- Your business operates within one of the following tourism sectors:
- Accommodation Providers
- Breweries and Distilleries with Visitor Centres
- Golf Clubs
- Heritage / Cultural Organisations
- Museums / Historic Buildings
- Tourist Shops
- Visitor Attractions incl. activity & outdoor centres
Businesses without a non-domestic rateable value or those below the threshold are exempt from paying the levy. However, they can if they so wish ‘opt–in’ by paying an annual fee and become a levy paying stakeholder.
Why should there be a Tourism BID for Moray Speyside?
Put simply, because our region deserves it and without the Moray Speyside Tourism BID, there will be no organisation devoted to supporting and developing tourism in Moray Speyside – this means that the number of visitors coming to Moray Speyside will reduce.
The Tourism sector in Moray Speyside has grown significantly since Moray Speyside Tourism was established in 2014 to deliver the Strategy for Tourism Development in Moray, but there is still much more work to do.
Neighbouring regions and other destinations around the world compete fiercely to attract visitors to their areas. Without Moray Speyside Tourism fighting for our area, all of the good work carried out since 2014 will have been in vain.
Moray Speyside Tourism has been core-funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) since 2014 but that funding ends in December 2019. We believe that a TBID offers the best solution to enable the continuing existence of a destination-marketing organisation.
What is a Tourism BID?
A Tourism BID is a limited company, run on a not for profit basis, that is funded by tourism businesses and which operates for the benefit of the tourism businesses in a pre-defined area, in this case, the whole Moray region
A Tourism BID is a tried and tested means of getting businesses involved on a collective basis, to set their own priorities and monitor the performance against those priorities.
You can find out more about BIDS on the Improvement Districts Scotland website, or by downloading one of these information booklets which are specifically about Tourism BIDS.
BIDS Scotland information on Tourism BIDS HERE
VisitBritain information about Tourism BIDS HERE
What does a Tourism BID do?
A Tourism BID works for the tourism businesses in an area to deliver the Business Plan that has been agreed by the businesses. The Tourism BID objectives are set by the businesses within the scope of the levy for the businesses.
- Cost effective destination marketing locally, nationally and internationally to consumers and tourism businesses.
- Building relationships with the worldwide travel trade, to raise awareness of the region’s diverse tourism offer
- Providing support, training, advice and advocacy for local tourism businesses
- Providing a strong lobbying voice on local and national tourism issues that matter to local businesses.
How would the Tourism Business Improvement District be funded
(and how much will it cost me)?
All Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are funded by a levy. The levy is determined in a variety of different ways, but in the case of the Moray Speyside Tourism BID, we are proposing a simple 4 band scale of charges as the most equitable way of ensuring all businesses contribute to and participate in the Tourism BID equitably:
In formulating the proposed levy scale, the Steering Group looked at every other Scottish Business Improvement District, the nearby Inverness Tourism BID and took on board suggestions from business that a ‘banded’ scale of charges was their preference.
We believe the bands are clear and simple to understand. Your investment will make sure we deliver for your business, our finances will be clear and our activities accountable and measurable.
The levy is set so as to create enough revenue to cover the costs of the activities set out in the business plan and apportioned across all eligible levy payers in a fair and transparent manner that is judged to be affordable by the businesses.
The levy rates will, other than increases for inflation, be fixed for the 5-year duration of the Tourism Business Improvement District.
How much will it generate?
It is projected that the Tourism BID would generate an annual income of around £170,000 (more than double the current annual budget of Moray Speyside Tourism) without any public funding.
Over a 5-year period, the Tourism BID would see investment of £850,000 in tourism development for Moray Speyside, and that’s before any income from any additional project funding or earned income.
The Tourism BID organisation would be able to access considerable additional funding from a range of sources to leverage its work – for example, VisitScotland Growth Fund or project funding from external sources.
How does the process of setting up a Tourism BID work?
A consultation with tourism businesses and stakeholders began in late 2018 with a survey of over 150 businesses, numerous focus groups and a series of one-to-one interviews.
Further consultation with businesses has continued over spring and summer 2019 to refine and develop the priorities and areas to be included in the activities of the Tourism BID.
From these discussions a Business Plan will be drawn up which will include proposed business objectives, performance indicators and management structure.
Eligible businesses will be invited to vote on the Business Plan by means of a 6-week postal ballot, to be held between December 2019 and January 2020. Ballot papers will be sent out to all businesses a minimum of 42 days before the ballot deadline.
Who is eligible to vote?
This is laid down by statute from the Scottish Government; It is the eligible person to pay the non-domestic rate. This is likely to be the business owner or operator in the case of locally-owned businesses. Responsibility for regional or national companies may be held at head office level, who may wish a local representative to cast the vote on their behalf. For such companies, it would be advisable that you contact your head office about the initiative and keep them informed.
How does the Ballot work?
The vote is a postal ballot conducted by the Electoral Reform Society and is carried out under strict guidelines and regulations.
Once open, the ballot period runs for 42 days. Details of the ballot will be sent to all eligible persons a minimum of 42 days before the close of the ballot.
For the ballot to be successful three criteria must be met:
- There must be at least a minimum turnout (headcount) of 25% of the businesses in the proposed TBID area, by number and combined rateable value.
- Over 50% of those that vote must vote in favour of the TBID.
- Those that vote in favour of the TBID must represent over 50% of the total rateable value of the votes cast.
If the vote is approved, all eligible properties owners, irrespective of how they voted, are legally bound to pay the levy for each of the five years. If the vote fails, the TBID goes no further.
How long will Tourism Business Improvement District last?
The Moray Speyside Tourism BID, if agreed, will last for 5 years. Towards the end of the 5-year term, there is another voting round and the Tourism BID is either renewed for a further 5 years or comes to an end.
Is a Tourism Business Improvement District just another tax?
No – crucially, with a Tourism BID, businesses get to decided what the money is spent on. This is not the case with a tax! All the money raised via the levy is devoted to delivering a programme of projects and services that are set out in the Business Plan with the specific aim of strengthening delivering your priorities.
Can my business ‘Opt-in’ to the Tourism BID?
Whilst the Tourism BID is focused squarely on tourism and visitor business in Moray Speyside, any business within the region can ‘opt-in’ to the Tourism BID. This may be an attractive option for Moray Speyside’s food and drink businesses and garden centres who benefit from tourism, but whose main customer base are not necessarily visitors to our region.
Businesses whose property has a rateable value of less than £2,000 are not included in the scope of the levy but will be encouraged to opt in to Visit Moray Speyside.
If your business is not included in the Tourism BID and you are not paying a levy collected on behalf of the BID by The Moray Council, but you wish to be part of it and enjoy the benefits of membership, you can ‘opt-in’ by paying a fee direct to Visit Moray Speyside
Opt-in membership may be an attractive option for Moray Speyside’s food and drink businesses and garden centres who benefit from tourism, but whose main customer base are not necessarily visitors to our region.
Is the legislation behind Tourism BIDs new?
BIDS have been around since the 1970’s, but it wasn’t until 2006 when the Scottish Government enacted Business Improvement Districts BIDs legislation.
There are now some 40 BIDs across Scotland. BIDs were initially focused on town centres, but the model was extended to be sector-specific BIDs across a larger geographic areas and Tourism BIDs were created.
As an example, the first Tourism Business Improvement District in Scotland, Visit Inverness Loch Ness was established in 2014 and the organisation has just received a positive YES vote for a second 5-year term.
How will the Tourism BID be run?
The work of the Tourism BID if agreed, will be delivered through a company limited by guarantee, whose members will be the levy payers and opt-in members , and whose directors will be elected by those members.
The company will be responsible for the delivery of the business plan over the next 5 years as reviewed by Moray Speyside’s tourism businesses at the time of the vote.
What does Moray Speyside Tourism do?
Moray Speyside Tourism (MST) is the organisation that promotes tourism in Moray. Officially known as a Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) it works to grow the volume and value of tourism to the Moray Speyside economy; encouraging visitors to come to Moray, working with tourism businesses across Moray Speyside and providing a voice at national level for the region’s tourism industry and businesses.
What area does Moray Speyside Tourism cover?
Moray Speyside Tourism’s geographic area matches the administrative areas of the county of Moray, within the Moray Council region.
Does Moray Speyside Tourism have a good track record in promoting tourism?
Yes, the statistics show a significant increase in visitor numbers, visitor days, economic impact and number of full-time equivalent jobs in tourism employment since 2014 when Moray Speyside Tourism came into being.
Comparing 2014 with 2018, the statistics indicate the following:
- Visitor Days have risen to 1,879,700 – an increase of 8.4%
- Visitor Numbers have risen to 797,880 – an increase of 15.5%
- Economic Benefit has grown to £129.6m in 2018 – an increase of 27.1%
- Total number of FTE’s directly employed in tourism has grown from 2,113 to 2,417 – an increase of 14.4%
You can look in more detail at Moray Speyside’s tourism growth over a number of years by downloading 2018’s Annual Visitor Summary
* Registered as businesses with Moray Council and having a Rateable Value (RV) of £2,000 or more. Voluntarily Operated organisations would not be within scope of Tourism BID but are encouraged to ‘opt-in’. Embrace Elgin City Centre BID members would not be liable to pay two levies.