TOURISM bosses in Helensburgh have said it would be "ideal" if a levy on tourists goes back to improve local services.

Plans for allowing local authorities to charge a so-called 'tourism tax' are moving through the Scottish Parliament.

And Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer last week urged councils to use the powers that will be given to them to charge the levy.

Fiona Baker, of Destination Helensburgh, said the tax might be small per visitor, but add up to help fund services in the area for both residents and tourists.

She said the area is under pressure from tourism and Helensburgh suffers from bins not getting emptied and other high-profile strains to local budgets.

She told the Advertiser: "Our understanding is that tourist levies used elsewhere are usually very small and amount to less than the price of a cup of coffee.

"Such a small amount is unlikely to significantly affect visitors’ decision to come here, but of course all the small amounts add up to a useful sum that could make a real difference, especially when local authorities are under such budget pressures.

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"It would be ideal if the money raised could be ring-fenced to improve services that both locals and visitors would appreciate.

"In Helensburgh itself it could contribute to more frequent emptying of public street bins on busy summer weekends, cleaning the frankly filthy pavements, the restoration of bus parking to meet the current demand, a pier fit for marine traffic … the list could go on."

She continued: "West Loch Lomondside and Arrochar is under huge pressure from tourists and local organisations have worked together to provide litter disposal and toilet facilities to cope with the numbers of visitors.

"This work is to be applauded, and it has made a real improvement to the environment and the visitor experience, but it is a constant battle for funding and a small tourist levy would ensure these vital improvements could be properly funded going forward."

Last week Mr Greer said the Scottish Greens secured the power for councils and he was "confident" that MSPs would agree to the proposals.

Mr Greer, who represents the Helensburgh and Loch Lomond area as part of his remit as a regional MSP for the West Scotland area, said: "The next step is for councils like Argyll and Bute to commit to making best use of the levy to invest in local communities and services.

“It’s fantastic that so many people visit places like Loch Lomond and Argyll every year, but it is only fair to ask them to make a small contribution to support the community and the services they use while they are visiting.

“Overnight accommodation levies are common in towns and cities around Europe and the world.

"They will help us to build a fairer, greener and better future for Argyll and Bute.”