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Welsh Conservatives to force vote to scrap tourism tax and reduce 182-day occupancy rule

21 May 2024 3 minute read
An empty Welsh beach

Emily Price

The Welsh Conservatives will force a vote in the Senedd today in a bid to scrap plans for a tourism tax and reduce the 182-day occupancy rule.

Tourism chiefs say they have been faced with a flood of policy changes over the last two years and small businesses have become overwhelmed by the number of new regulations and costs.

In April last year, the Welsh Government changed the criteria for a holiday let property to qualify for business rates.

Under the ‘182 days’ occupancy rule, a property needs to be made available for 252 days and occupied by guests on a commercial basis for 182 days in order to be eligible for business rates.

Levy

The Welsh Government is also working on proposals to give local authorities powers to introduce a visitor tax on tourists.

It would see a “small additional charge” to be levied on visitors staying overnight in visitor accommodation.

Councils would then be free to decide how they spend the proceeds.

Any final decisions on how the levy will be applied will be taken following extensive scrutiny and a vote in the Senedd.

Responsibility

The Welsh Government says it hopes the tax will, “foster a sense of shared responsibility between residents and visitors, to protect, and invest in, local areas.”

The Welsh Tories say the tourism sector needs more support following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday (May 22) they will put forward a motion calling for plans for a tourism tax to be scrapped entirely.

They will also call for a reduction of the 182-day occupancy threshold to 105 days.

A report by the Wales Tourism Business Barometer 2024 found that Welsh Government policies are one of the biggest concerns of tourism operators in Wales,

Chairman of the Wales Tourism Alliance, Suzy Davies, said: “We are pleased to see that Senedd members are being given the chance to debate tourism. The opportunities and challenges the industry faces need thorough scrutiny.

“The slew of policies damaging jobs and income, without any evidence of benefit elsewhere, points to the need to amend them or scrap them altogether. A review is now overdue.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism, Sport and Social Justice, Laura Anne Jones says the tourism tax is “toxic”.

She said: “Tourism is absolutely vital to the Welsh economy and local communities, accounting for over 150,000 Welsh jobs, and accounting for 5% of Wales’ GDP.

“In the Senedd tomorrow, I look forward to bringing forward a Welsh Conservative debate calling on the Labour Government to scrap their toxic tourism tax, and reduce their damaging occupancy threshold to 105 days.”

The Welsh Government said any levy would be used in a way that “promotes balance”.

A spokesperson said: A levy of some description is used by many of the world’s most progressive visitor destinations to ensure a sustainable balance between communities, businesses, landscapes and visitors.  Wales has so much to offer to visitors and we want to ensure that we realise that potential in a way that promotes this balance.

“To achieve this, we are taking radical action using the planning, property and taxation systems available as part of a joined-up package of solutions to a complex set of issues and will continue to engage with the industry to help inform our approach.”


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Jeff
Jeff
27 days ago

I don’t have a problem with it and I will pay it.
But then I am forced to pay for tourists that flood the area in the summer, clean, up rubbish removal, toilets (we pay the water rates, not the tourists), beach cleaning etc. Few quid a day is not a problem.

Jeff
Jeff
27 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Oh yeah, I see, forgot the breakup of plaid labour. This is why the cons are on the march. Expect a lot more of the same then. Cons wrecking ball in motion.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
27 days ago

And the Welsh Tories will want to vote to shut Cardiff airport and want a Vote to abolish the Welsh assembly and of be back under control of London Government instead of beware Greeks bearing gifts as said by the Trojan Princes DAI PONTY SAYS BEWARE OF TORIES BEARING GIFTS

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
27 days ago

Because Wales is an English colony and should exist as a playground for England.

Ap Kenneth
27 days ago

The 182 day rule was introduced as so many second home owners were claiming they had a business, to pay business rates and then an exemption so they paid nothing. So a rental has to achieve 50% occupancy compared to hotels, real businesses, that average 75% occupancy.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
24 days ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Agreed.

Also “a property needs to be made available for 252 days”. Why not 365 days? If a hotel or guest house were only open for bookings for 252 days out of 365 they would soon go bust.

Gareth
Gareth
27 days ago

It would seem that as soon as our Gov want to do something different to what is happening in England, the Tory party here go loopy. Not once have I heared anybody call the tourist tax ” toxic” when going abroad on holiday, and just about every country with a tourist trade have a visitor tax, and every tourist pays it. The lake district council are interested in adopting a visitor ” tax”, and Devon council are proposing more 20 mph roads in Torquay and Paignton, both Tory councils, but if our Gov mentions it, the Torys go nuts, hypocrisy… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
27 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

And of cours,e the tourist tax in Manchester, England, of £1 per room, per night, which started in April 2023 and is levied by 73 hotels and apartments, has totally ruined the English tourist trade, NOT.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
27 days ago

The only thing these parasitic tourism operators are worried about is their profits. A reasonable tourism tax could raise useful income to offset the negative effects of such an industry that has significant impacts on the country’s infrastructure that has to be configured to a demand at least twice that of local needs in order to take account of the burdens of tourism. The 182 day occupancy regulation is a fair level when considering if such a property forms part of a viable business, representing as it does a 75% occupancy rate. If a business can’t achieve that, then it… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Padi Phillips
Mark Mansfield
Admin
27 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

That’s strange.It’s fine for us.comment image

Tom Williams
Tom Williams
20 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

182 is quite hard to reach in areas not near the coast or Snowdon. To say that a business is unviable below this is ill conceived nonsense. Some people operate a cottage as a simple addition to a pension or an income top-up. So to purely go from that one metric to label a holiday let as a business is causing much anxiety to the smaller niche operators.

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