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‘Growing feeling Wales is anti-English’ warns industry boss over tourism tax

12 Apr 2022 3 minute read
Tourism on Snowdon. Picture by Hefin Owen (CC BY-SA 2.0).

A tourism tax proposed as part of the Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government cooperation deal would feed into a “growing feeling” that Wales is “anti-English” a tourism boss has warned.

Ashford Price, secretary of the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions, said that the tourism tax could “damage” the tourism industry in Wales as tourists would visit other parts of the UK without a tax instead.

The Welsh Government has said that a tourism tax would raise revenue for local authorities enabling them to manage services and infrastructure which makes tourism a success.

But Ashford Price warned: “From the many English contacts I have made in tourism over the years, I gather there is now a growing feeling by some in England that the Welsh Government is anti-English, and also anti-tourism.

“In many Welsh regions, 80% of their visitors come from England. Can Wales really afford to lose this market?”

Ashford Price, who is the owner of the National Showcaves Centre for Wales, added: “Wales has much to lose if this tax is implemented. Surely we need to encourage tourists to come to Wales, not tax them for coming!” he said.

“The Sun, Express and Mail newspapers are already having a field day, dubbing the proposed Welsh tourism tax a ‘tax on the English wanting to visit Wales’.

He added that Scotland had already looked at the idea of a tourism tax and decided against it for these reasons.

“In the end, they all have abandoned the idea owing to the potential damage to their tourism industries,” he said.

“If this Welsh tourism tax does come about, how many of our potential customers will simply vote with their feet and go to Devon, Ireland, or Scotland rather than pay yet another tax at a time when they are trying to cope with a personal cost of living crisis?”

‘Dog whistle’

Tourism provides a substantial economic contribution to Wales with tourism-related expenditure reaching more than £5bn annually in 2019.

A tourism tax would raise revenue for local authorities enabling them to manage services and infrastructure which makes tourism a success, according to Labour and Plaid.

In October, the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru have confirmed a consultation on proposals for a local visitor levy will launch in autumn 2022.

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said a levy would enable destinations in Wales to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Plaid Cymru’s Designated Member Cefin Campbell MS said that the “measure will help support a sustainable rather than an extractive tourism sector”.

But the leader of the Welsh Conservatives has hit out at the proposed tax as a “nationalist dog whistle”.

Andrew RT Davies, MS for South Wales Central, was responding to a tweet from Kate Nicholls, CEO UK Hospitality in which she said: “Welsh hospitality has seen biggest fall in revenue over pandemic and a far slower rate of recovery.

“A tourist tax would deter visitors to Wales and with businesses already paying £1 in every £3 earned in tax make many unviable. Need strategy to boost demand turbo charge recovery”.

In a quote tweet, Mr Davies said: “The Labour/Plaid tourist tax plan is a nationalist dog whistle that will put a roadblock on our road to recovery. After a battering from Labour’s restrictions, now Welsh hospitality is facing a battering from the separatists.”


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Dafydd Evan Morris
Dafydd Evan Morris
5 months ago

“The Sun, Express and Mail newspapers are already having a field day, dubbing the proposed Welsh tourism tax a ‘tax on the English wanting to visit Wales’. ” That rather suggests we’re doing something right.  So much of what those three papers prints is the old “twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools” thing (And yes, it was indeed Englishman Kipling who wrote that phrase, but it’s no less valid for that!] This tax – which exists already in so many parts of the world – is for investment in tourism and in the public goods of… Read more »

Gareth Westacott
Gareth Westacott
5 months ago

No, but there is a growing realisation that we are being ripped off and exploited, that it is not the Welsh people who benefit from tourism, and that were anyone (hello, Welsh government?!!) to do an audit into who exactly does benefit, they will find that most of the pubs, hotels, outdoor pursuits enterprises, etc, etc, are owned and run by English people.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

That would be interesting…reminds me of the story of the Cornish miner that returned from Australia and visited a copper mine and pointed to the yellow metal in the spoil heap and explained that it was gold…G. W. Hall…The Gold Mines of Merioneth

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

A friend of mine informs me that they asked this very question of Ken Skates over a year ago and got no reply…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

The larger ventures that require substantial investment all come from across the border. They are the ones that get the grants and pay locals the minimum wage or less…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

I think Zip World was started by a local guy…

R Roberts
R Roberts
5 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It was. A lot of the money has come from outside Wales. Almost all the profits leave Wales. Local businesses in Bethesda & Blaenau Ffestiniog hardly make any monetary gains from Zip World.Most of the staff are on zero hours.
The local guy is not very popular locally.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  R Roberts

I met him, when he was starting out, I’m not surprised…

John Williams
John Williams
5 months ago

Why the hang-ups over tourist taxes in the UK? Tourist taxes are common all over the world, helping to maintain public services and facilities and provide opportunities for investment for benefit of both local community and tourists – a no-brainer.

Paul
Paul
5 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

The take per tourist is relatively low here. Any increase may lower the spend in England… That is what the ‘critics’ are opposed to …

Richard
Richard
5 months ago
Reply to  John Williams

I’m currently sitting in an Ynys Mon tavern on the way to place some Easter 🐣 flowers 🌺 on my wife’s parents grave.

Conversation here is currently not too far off this topic. Locals and long standing incomers plus a few visitors are chatting re their views

Guess who the most ‘ anti tourism ‘ of the three ‘ groups ‘ ( my word ) are ???

No prizes !!

It’s the draw bridge folk ‘ we’ve come here to get away from mass tourism
that benefits only a very few ‘ and we don’t want our lives disturbed 😦

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

So what about all the countries in Europe or around the world that charge a tourism tax, are they all anti english?
At least 40 countries now charge some form of tourist tax, including a number of European cities and US states. A review by the European Tourism Association found that in Europe a tourist charge was in place in 125 destinations across 26 countries.

Llyn
Llyn
5 months ago

Having read the article a number of times I can see zero evidence that the proposed tourism tax is anti-English. The regular suspects saying something is so doesn’t make it so.

Llinos
Llinos
5 months ago

Wales is anti-English government because the English government is anti-Wales. Wales is also anti-English people trying to Anglicise our nation and its place names. This is all. Tourism is 4% of our economy. Not all of this is English tourism. If some want to try to hold us to ransom by threatening not to come, I personally have no problem letting them go. Cultural vandals are free to stay away. But tourists who treat us and our nation with respect will always be welcomed, wherever they are from, including England. I really don’t see what is so hard to understand… Read more »

Arfon
Arfon
5 months ago

Mr Price of ‘plastic’ dinosaur legend does not speak for Wales.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Arfon

He’s never been scared of free publicity,

Gareth
Gareth
5 months ago

As for the comment by Andrew R T Davies, he should leave the politics to people who care for Cymru, and stick to looking after his sheep, where he can put his ” dog whistle ” to some use.

Kurt C
Kurt C
5 months ago

A tourist tax that invests in those areas that tourism is party of the economy, helps all. Its not anti any tourist (yes other people exist outside England).

Ap Kenneth
5 months ago

So a tourism tax would drive them all to Ireland (where they are having the same discussion on a tourism tax), Scotland or Devon/Cornwall? Have they seen the cost of a ferry ticket, or the cost of fuel, or the higher costs of staying in Cornwall. Yes it changes the balance a little but if spent on tourist infrastructure, eg public toilets it swings that balance back in Wales favour.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago

What goes around comes around and the Internal Markets Act is the equivalent of the English shooting themselves in both feet at once. They are an immature people who never even try to see things from the point of view of others.

In his “Two Tracts on Civil Liberty” Richard Price called it tyranny and despotism. He was writing during the American war of Independence and the English establishment didn’t listen then either. Same old same old.

Paul
Paul
5 months ago

RT Davies is one of the vilest English supremacists in the country. He cares nothing for Wales… His entire being is focused on preventing the people of Wales having a say in Welsh affairs. It would not surprise me if these attacks were coordinated through his office.

Rhobert Griffith
Rhobert Griffith
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Who is R T Davies

Paul
Paul
5 months ago

The placeholder for the English supremacist party (Tories) in Wales.

Richard
Richard
5 months ago

A Question many of us ask every time he pops up ⬆️……..?

Is he real or indeed a media invention that fits a needed safe stereotype…..

Glen
Glen
5 months ago

Ashford Price is a serial moanier, he’s always in the media grizzling about something or other.
Last time he was complaining about lockdowns affecting his business
Before that he was complaining about building regs. in the National Parks.
He even moans about the weather, https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/10359162.south-wales-tourist-boss-may-sue-weather-forecasters/

The original mark
The original mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Glen

He’s recently banned Putin supporters and oligarchs from visiting the caves, 🤣🤣🤣

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
5 months ago

English oligarchs?

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

These people have a cheek calling us anglophobic when they have trashed and ridiculed Cymru for centuries ! A tourism tax is the right way to go. If you choose to use Cymru as a playground – then you have to pay for it ‘and’ no matter which nation you come from.

R W
R W
5 months ago

I didn’t realise it would only the English that would be paying the tourism tax. No wonder they feel so victimised!!
In case you’re wondering, then yes, I am being sarcastic.

Arwyn
5 months ago

Welsh people sick up for themselves and make some minor political decisions to better their lot – look what happens. All the Tory boys come out squealing “anti-English” – bunch of muck flingers. Load of rubbish. British Nationalist hypocrites’ poor attempt a pointing the finger and stirring up.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

Ashford Price this inflammatory language has got to stop now! Anti-English? A tourism tax does not discriminate the English. . All will pay whether you are from England or not. Even if you are from within Wales itself will pay if a visitor.

What does he prefer unfettered access where Wales is a playground to be damaged & littered. Where holiday homes are empty most of the year that magically appear like Brigadoon before fading away leaving a zombie village with no signs of life. He must realise that our interests must come first.

Last edited 5 months ago by Y Cymro
I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
5 months ago

Not anti English, but pro Cymru. Same with anti Westminster, not anti England.

Tellyesin
Tellyesin
5 months ago

Mr Ashford Price, owner of a large hole in the ground is a stranger, it would seem, to how things work. I gather from my contacts in the tourism business that there could be a perception that tourism leaders like Mr Ashford Price might say anything to avoid owning up to how little they actually earn.

George
George
5 months ago

Ashford Price has recognised the tactics of The Sun, The Express and Mail and tried their best to give those tactic credence.

Has got a point that it risks being seen as anti-English but surely Price can point out that it’s not, that it’s concerns about tourism and fits into what many European countries do for themselves?

I’m not sure it’s the right thing for Wales but having a conversation about what it means for relationships with England is such a silly take on the debate needed.

Richard
Richard
5 months ago

The areas across Europe whether national , regional or city who have a tourist tax tend to be those with a keep business eye – and yes most sit in the euro group that ARTDs sat with for so many years.

R Roberts
R Roberts
5 months ago

Ashford Price, owner of Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves said: 
“Mark Drakeford has done more to destroy Welsh tourism than any other event in history. Dan-yr-Ogof has survived 2 World Wars, depressions, recessions, the Foot and Mouth epidemic, but at this rate it’s not going to survive Mark Drakeford.”

Ashford Price has the full support of Fay Jones ,Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire.

This is grievance because The Senedd refused their request to open during the pandemic, in 2020. Sour grapes.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
5 months ago
Reply to  R Roberts

Ashford Price, owner of Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves said: 
“Mark Drakeford has done more to destroy Welsh tourism than any other event in history. Dan-yr-Ogof has survived 2 World Wars, depressions, recessions, the Foot and Mouth epidemic, but at this rate it’s not going to survive Mark Drakeford.”

Mr. Price appears rather hysterical.

Last edited 5 months ago by Nobby Tart
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
5 months ago

Apart from the name ‘Dan yr Ogof’ written sideways at the top there is no Welsh on the website http://www.showcaves.co.uk so we can guess who is anti-Welsh. How can something be the ‘National Showcaves Centre’ and not use the Welsh language’?

Tim
Tim
5 months ago

41 countries around the world charge a tourist tax and if you’ve travelled abroad, you’ve likely paid one before. You may have never noticed it – as it’s sometimes worked into airline tickets or the taxes you pay at your hotel. The money from the tax goes to protecting natural resources and maintaining tourism facilities. The tax is becoming more popular as a tool to battle the growing issue of over-tourism. When some ignorant person talks about the proposed Welsh Tourism Tax being anti-English he is revealing his own racist views.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
5 months ago

I went to Rome a few years ago.
I paid a tourist tax there, 6 euros a day if I remember correctly.

Are they being ‘anti English’ too?

I recall Rome still being rather popular with tourists too.

Grayham Jones
5 months ago

All English people entering wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 must pay taxes to wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a New Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

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