Visitors will stay away if there’s a tourism tax says Welsh Tory leader as he meets man who banned Mark Drakeford
Visitors will stay away from Wales if a tourism tax is brought in, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has said as he met a man who has banned Mark Drakeford from his attraction.
Welsh Government ministers have been banned from visiting Dan yr Ogof Caves because of their “anti-tourism, anti-English” attitude according to the owner.
Ashford Price, who is also 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.
Andrew RT Davies, who met with Ashford Price as he visited the site today, said that he agreed.
“When you look at the impact Labour and Plaid’s tourism policies will have on our tourism industry, even on a well known and loved place like the Showcaves, there is real cause for concern,” he said.
“Many businesses will choose to invest elsewhere, many visitors will choose to visit elsewhere, and it’s Welsh businesses and communities that will miss out most when that money and those jobs go elsewhere.
“The Welsh Conservatives have been unequivocal: No tourism tax. We should cherish and nurture these businesses, not set them up for failure.”
A sign now being displayed in the Dan Yr Ogof ticket office reads: ”Owing to the Welsh Government’s anti-tourism, and anti-English policies being imposed on the Welsh tourism industry, members of the Welsh Government are no longer welcome at this attraction. Their policies will lead to tourism businesses being forced to close and thousands of tourism jobs lost.”
Ashford Price said last month that he had not seen similar policies under previous Welsh Labour governments.
“I have had the pleasure of meeting two First Ministers for Wales at the caves,” he told WalesOnline. “The late Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones on more than one occasion and they were always genuinely interested in tourism.
“However, the present Welsh Government with their anti-tourism policies, namely the 182-day rule, the proposed tourism tax, and planned alterations to the main summer holidays, clearly show that they do not understand or care that their actions will decimate seasonal tourism businesses in Wales.
“Thirty per cent of self-catering businesses are forecast to close, with a resulting loss of 1,400 Welsh jobs. Is it any wonder that some operators in Welsh tourism are now holding back on any future investment in Wales? With the resultant job losses, soon the only growth area in Welsh tourism will be the growth in redundant tourism operators claiming ‘benefits’.
“The Welsh Government have used ‘bully boys’ tactics to bulldoze through these new laws, ignoring tourism opposition and leading experts advising against these new proposals. For the Welsh Government to take these actions, especially during a cost-of-living crisis, and a recession starting this Autumn that according to the Bank of England will last for over a year and with inflation rising to 13% next year is complete economic madness!
“Eighty per cent of all visitors to Wales are English and many of these new policies will be seen as anti-English by the English media. Wales will pay a heavy price if our main tourism market refuses to pay the proposed tourism tax, and vote with their feet and go elsewhere. In a recession, people will be looking for ‘bargain holidays’ not holiday regions where you pay a tax for visiting them.”
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