Wales Tourism Alliance fears Labour-Plaid Cymru pact will lead to tourist tax
The Wales Tourism Alliance has criticised the approach to tourism in the new Labour and Plaid Cymru Co-Operation Agreement.
The group has claimed that the document resurrects the possibility of a tourism tax being introduced in Wales through local government financing reform.
Suzy Davies, Chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance said: “We understand why local communities in tourism hot-spots are anxious but we also recognise the value that balanced tourism contributes to local economies.
“We understand the anxiety about the effect of a disproportionate number of second homes in some communities. This is why our members support the principle of distinguishing between genuine tourism businesses, unregulated holiday lets and second homes which are left empty for much of the year.
“What we do not understand is why this document looks so swiftly and short-sightedly to apply extra financial pressures on the hardest-hit, slowest-recovering, private sector industry in the Welsh economy – to which it contributes £6bn a year, the equivalent of over a third of Welsh Government’s budget
“Welsh Government is well aware of the arguments against double taxation; countries with tourism taxes have lower rates of VAT on tourism businesses.
“It also knows the industry’s views on the effect this will have on local businesses and, so, local jobs.
“With the level of public spending implied in the new document, it is hard to see a new tourism tax as anything other than a way of diverting existing funds to other priorities.
She added: “There is no suggestion in current proposals to ensure that any new tax take would be ringfenced, or would be additional to, the extra money that councils already get to meet specific tourism-related aims.
“In reality, the proposals could lead to a contraction in the visitor economy in areas of Wales that are most dependent on the tourism sector
“It is Welsh Government’s own policies to encourage longer stays with less impact on the environment. Overnight visitors contribute more per head to the Welsh economy than day visitors, with less reliance on transport infrastructure. The current proposals target businesses to solve a problem which is not of their making.
“To even contemplate a tourism tax when businesses are rebuilding after the worst of the pandemic is wholly misconceived.
“Our businesses are facing a perfect storm of rises in the cost of supplies at a time of supplies shortages. They are supporting rises in the cost of employment at a time of staff shortages.
“They are taking all the financial risk at a time of a rising cost of living. And they are facing perpetual uncertainty about covid restrictions at a time when they are trying hard to meet deferred demand and, so, limited availability for new visitors.”
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Oh no, a few more quid to combat the problems and attack on our language and culture that her industry causes our country. Poor them. The tourist industry is quickly becoming an enemy of people living here so maybe she should stop and think before she attracts more attention to the problems it causes.
Wales needs to give serious consideration to adopting the same tourism policy as Bhutan – high quality tourists whose spend per head benefits Wales, With reduced numbers causing less tourism pollution damage to Wales, the communities in Wales will not be ravaged by low spending tourists who contribute little to the total economy. Also, as the Mayor of London has created a Congestion Charge scheme, why cannot the National Parks in Wales do the same?
There is no balance you worry about your own pockets not the people living in the hot spots
There is a tourist tax in European countries , it has done nothing to dissuade people from all over the world visiting, including people from Britain. If it works in other countries, it can work here, to help our communities.
Bring it on.
Suzy Davies, former Tory Regional MS for South West Wales! (Only saying!)
Suzy Davies and friends really should do their homework. There are 47 countries that have a tourist tax, ranging from a simple bed tax, local tax, cruise ship tax and, as in Spain, a sliding scale tax on hotel stays. Weirdly enough…..these are not driving visitors away; indeed many tourist destinations all over the world have been experiencing (pre-covid) record number of visitors. In the Republic of Ireland a tourist tax raises 2 billion Euros annually; the last time I was in Dublin the city was packed and hotels full. Presumably Suzy Davies doesn’t travel? Or if she does, does… Read more »
Have a heart John…. Poor Suzy is worried sick about tourists (or more likely those that live off them.)
Once a Tory, always a Tory. Seems a lot of the Tourism sector is headed by such. Odd eh? Must just be a coincidence…
Would you prefer the anarchic free-for-all of Bojo the Clown’s government?
There are no ‘staff shortages’ just a shortage of employers willing to pay decent wages and provide good working conditions..
We in wales have got tax all incomers to pay the bills in wales 🏴 we have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴 it’s time for a new wales 🏴 no more second homes in wales 🏴
Wales has somehow got to wean itself off tourism which is currently a substitute for a productive regional economy in the playground areas of the country. The ethical balance is unquestionably in favour of controlling mass unregulated low-yield tourism so as to promote a civilised environment in which local Welsh culture can be safeguarded. But this can only be done if local economies can be developed in a way that offers decently-paid careers for young local people so that they can afford to live in their own communities. This will take years, and a lot of money, but the WG… Read more »