Conservatives fear Mark Drakeford will introduce tourist tax if Labour win re-election
The Welsh Conservatives have said that they fear that the First Minister will introduce a tourism tax if Labour win re-election next month.
Mark Drakeford mooted a tourism tax in 2017, and said in August 2020 that it was still “not off the table”.
Tourism operators have baulked at the idea, saying it would cause serious harm to the Welsh economy, while others – such as Gwynedd Council leader Dyfrig Siencyn – has suggested it as an antidote to “over-tourism” in the county.
A number of EU countries also already apply a tourism tax, such as an extra tax on staying at accommodation which is paid upon check-out.
Russell George, Welsh Conservative spokesperson for the Economy, however warned that “another hammer blow” from Labour would cause countless Welsh businesses to collapse.
“Normally, the Easter weekend is one of the most important events in the calendar for Welsh businesses, but we know regrettably this is not feasible with the current restrictions,” he said.
“But what’s made this precarious situation even worse is the Welsh Labour Government putting up obstacles, including breaking its promise by shifting the goalposts on business support, as well as its refusal to rule out a draconian tourism tax which risks losing jobs and businesses.
“I fear that another hammer blow from Labour ministers could signal the end to some businesses in Wales – and the fear of a tourism tax continues to linger across Wales.
“Welsh Conservatives have been categorically clear that we will not introduce a tax on tourism in Wales, unlike Labour and other parties, who continue to toy with the barmy idea.
“To get the Welsh economy on the road to recovery, we will introduce an ambitious Tourism Towns Fund to allow communities to improve their local economy by attracting new visitors, as well as maintaining the VAT cut to 5% until April 2022 for tourism businesses.
“The Welsh Conservatives will build a better Wales and create more jobs, better hospitals and first-class schools.”