Labour and Plaid’s tourism tax plan a ‘nationalist dog whistle’ says Welsh Conservative leader
The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has hit out at Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru’s proposed tourist 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.”
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. https://t.co/03l5GFx9mI
— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) February 13, 2022
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”.
This week, North Wales Tourism chief executive Jim Jones hit out at the “regressive” move, saying it would be an “absolute disaster”, which would “damage an industry that is already reeling” from the pandemic, and is already “already heavily overtaxed” in Wales.
The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, and the Cooperation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, both contain commitments to introduce levies.
Formal consultation on draft legislative proposals for a visitor levy will launch in the autumn, providing a platform for a range of views to be considered.
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