Archdruid says Welsh language has no strongholds left, calls for tourism tax
The Welsh language has no strongholds left and a tourism tax is required to keep key services going in Welsh speaking communities, the Archdruid has said.
Myrddin ap Dafydd was speaking at the ceremony to announce next year’s National Eisteddfod which will take place in Llyn and Eifionydd.
During the ceremony in Porthmadog, he said that it would be a “Welsh language festival in a Welsh language area – but we know that there is no such thing as a Welsh language stronghold anymore”.
“It’s all under pressure. What became apparent during the pandemic was that the tourism we have in west Wales is not possible without a legion of key workers available to support those visitors and the services they provide,” he said.
“Without local doctors, nurses, air ambulances, coastguards, wardens and route workers, mountain and mountain rescue and rescue teams, police, council workers, recycling service, police, and everyone else – you can’t sustain a tourist industry.
“It turned the common phrase ‘we can’t live without them’ on its head and we saw a new truth: ‘they can’t come here on holiday without us’, which includes the key workers and all of us who are paying taxes to support them.
“The only way we can value our key workers is by ensuring that they can get decent wages and homes in the areas they serve. Tourism must therefore contribute more to the local economy on which it depends.
“A tourism tax is found in most countries and tourist areas of the world. This is the money that supports services such as tourist information centers, public conveniences, walking and cycling routes, blue flag beaches, beach showers, security teams and essential workers.”
To illustrate his point, the Archdruid told a story of a man who worked at a garage in the Conwy valley which was busy with summer visitors.
“He noticed one visitor arriving, heading straight for the air pump, pumping a front tire on a driver’s side, and then going back to his seat without buying petrol or a packet of crisps or anything,” he said.
“He was about to drive away when the man who worked at the garage knocked on his window. The local businessman said three words: ‘Air costs money’, bent down and let the wind out from the tyre.
“No, Wales and its heritage are not for sale – and it’s not to be shared for free either. When you come in your tens of thousands here to Llyn and Eifionydd next year, remember to support the local economy.
“We must see our local societies live and breathe; the culture that hosts this festival will then live on. Remember this is still the case: ‘Air Costs Money’.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.