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Now isn’t the time for a ‘tourist tax’, former Plaid Cymru leader argues

12 Aug 2021 2 minutes Read
The awarding of UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the slate landscape of north west Wales. Lord Dafydd Wigley in Llanberis for the announcement

Now isn’t the time for a “tourist tax”, according to a former Plaid Cymru leader.

Dafydd Wigley, who sits in the House of Lords, has argued that it is “unfortunate” that the First Minister Mark Drakeford is considering the levy when “tourism businesses are reeling from the Covid lockdown”.

He suggested that one shouldn’t be levied until “the sector has regained financial stability”, and when it is, the money should be “directed to help the tourist infrastructure”.

This would include “training local workers with the necessary people skills”.

In a column for The National, Wigley wrote: “As Caernarfon MP, I worked closely with Wales’ tourist industry, serving on a select committee inquiry into tourism in Wales.

“My minority report, drawing heavily on Lord Young’s analysis, was far too radical for the Thatcher government.

“But these issues are again centre stage and two immediate steps are essential.

“Firstly, with holiday homes in rural Wales – radical action is needed immediately to prevent rural communities being obliterated.

“Secondly, Mark Drakeford is apparently considering a tourist tax. It’s unfortunate this arises when tourism businesses are reeling from the Covid lockdown. No such tax should be levied until the sector has regained financial stability.”

‘Training’ 

He added: “Thereafter, tax revenue should be directed to help the tourist infrastructure – not least training local workers with the necessary people skills.

“In parallel, there should be concerted action to rebalance the tourist season from high summer towards the spring and autumn ‘shoulder-periods’.

“This would give tourism-dependent businesses a stronger economic base and seasonal workers a higher, more balanced income.

“Tourism is here to stay; but it must carry local communities with it.”

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Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

If ever that political mythical beast “balance” was needed it is now and Dafydd has identified that need. There is however a huge gap between “tourism” and second home ownership that needs to be addressed urgently.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Quornby

2nd homes banned in Tyrol.

John Rees Moss
John Rees Moss
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Second properties are not the root-cause and this nationalist bandwagon needs to be halted before it damages the economic viability of the region. The lack of higher-paid employment is the main issue in achieving affordability of housing. The highest number of second homes in the UK is in the City of London (27%) and nobody is complaining there!

Rhi
Rhi
1 month ago
Reply to  John Rees Moss

People very much are complaining about the London housing crisis.
It’s a huge problem that is regularly written about.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Strange how erstwhile radical thinkers turn all mellow and pliable in their older years. There is a serious case for a tourism tax, the only debate should be about how it is levied and how much. The same goes for the second home and holiday home issues. Existing loopholes that enable avoidance of any kind of tax charge – income tax, council tax, business rates etc – need to be shut tight.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

Can’t agree with him on this. A tourist tax won’t do much to prevent overtourism but it will at least pay towards the repair bill and the cleaning bill.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

LORD Wigley!!!!!

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

I think there are plenty of good examples across the EU and wider Europe on how local communities can benefit from tourism and those who see Eryri etc as a holiday park or wild area to be visited for fun and games DW is right in his comments re a blunt tourism tax

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
1 month ago

Sorry Dafydd, you can’t have it both ways. The second homes debacle and the…’training local workers’ for the tourism industry do not correspond. Where are you going to house these ‘local workers’ Dafydd? Tourism tax is just a drop in the ocean, but we need it to counter-balance the cost of over-tourism and yes, Mark Drakeford really needs to step up and confront the second homes issue instead of dilly-dallying. Roedd gen’i dipyn o barch i ti Dafydd ond rwyt ti methu rhedeg gyda’r cwn a’r cadno.

Shan Morgain
1 month ago

A much too narrow view looking exclusively at the needs of tourism business. Yes he makes a nod towards the damage to Welsh communities by tourism and second homes. But no more than a mention. At elected politician level past/ present, we expect a wider view. This man speaks like a businessman not a wide range politician. ///// Tourism tax surely needs introducing with care at this difficult time, graduating it but it must be done. It must pay for local services it relies upon, roads, sewage, water etc. But the most urgent need is to close the evasion to… Read more »

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

If not now then when? This reminds me of all the excuses for not tackling climate change, the ‘now is not the time the economy needs to recover first’ brigade. Basically looking for excuses to postpone it indefinitely until it gets quietly dropped.

Tom Parsons
Tom Parsons
1 month ago

Is there a homestead tax exemption in Wales? Here in my state in the US, property taxes are based on if you live permanently in the home versus own it as a second home. Many people here have vacation homes in the northern part of the state, i.e., “cabins” that they have to pay full tax on, because they don’t reside there permanently. Their main place of residence receives a homestead tax exemption.

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