Wales tourism tax to be introduced by 2026
Welsh MPs were told today that a tourism levy would be introduced towards the end of current Senedd term, which runs until 2026.
Minister for the Economy Vaughan Gething confirmed the timeline during questioning at today’s (1 February) Welsh Affairs Select Committee.
Anglesey MP Virginia Crosbie asked the minister: “Could you give us an update on the tourism tax and when that will be implemented and how will it be invested, and what is the feedback from of the tourism and hospitality sector?”
Mr Gething replied: “The sector would prefer that we didn’t deliver our manifesto pledge (but) we are committed to doing it …. the consultation had over 1,400 responses. The levy would not be introduced until towards the end of this term because we need to get it right.”
Mr Gething explained that the decisions around implementing the tourist tax would be “a matter for the local authority” and that one size does not fit all.
He explained: “A visitor levy for Cardiff might not work in Gwynedd. A visitor levy for Gwynedd might not work in Pembrokeshire and Wrexham may decide it does not want one. That will be a choice for the local authority.”
The tourism levy, explained Mr Gethin is in use world-wide and some countries have more than one. When visiting family in America for example, Mr Gething explained that he paid tourist tax to the state as well as to the city.
A tourist tax explained Mr Gething: “Is a really small amount and not a significant cost – a very small contribution from hospitality to support the community.
“As you know from your own constituency (Anglesey), tourism can bring real benefit but people want to go somewhere where there’s a real community that exists and survives, as well.
“(Tourism) does bring particular pressures as well, at various times in the season.
“It’s about the balance of that, and we think local authorities are best place to do that, in consultation with their local sector – on whether to introduce a levy, at what level and then how to publish information on its use.”
New York and Washington
The Welsh Select Committee Chair is Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, who was one of a group of MPs to recently visit America.
He started the committee meeting by saying to Vaughan Gethin: “Could I thank you Minister for helping to facilitate the meetings that some members of the committee recently had with your teams in New York and Washington.”
Mr Crabb then said he’d seen data which suggests Wales could be capturing a larger share of international tourism.
He asked Mr Gething: “Do you think Minister that Wales is punching its weight as a global tourist destination?”
Mr Gethin said he would, “Pass on your thanks to our teams in North America,” before agreeing that more could be done to attract international visitors to Wales.
On his recent trip to North America, Stephen Crabb also said that the locals seemed to be well aware of Wrexham.
Mr Crabb said: “When we were in the states in early January, we were struck by the number of Americans who – on learning that we were from Wales, immediately said Wrexham.
“The documentary that has been made by Ryan Reynolds and Wrexham football club seems to be far bigger than here in the UK.”
The Welsh delegation of MPs also met with people of Welsh decent and Welsh expats, said Mr Crabb:
“When we were in New York we met with the Welsh diaspora group … does Welsh Government have a Welsh diaspora group?”
Mr Gething replied: “Yes, we do, when Eluned Morgan was International Relations Minister, one of the things she tried to do was create a diaspora strategy. We have diaspora groups that we are aware of and they have contact with our North America office … we are looking to do more.”
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