Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Welsh Government ‘seeking to deter visitors’ to Wales says Conservative MP

18 Feb 2022 5 minute read
Robin Millar picture by Richard Townsend (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Government is “seeking to deter visitors” to Wales rather than attempting to grow the nation’s tourism economy, according to a Conservative MP.

Aberconwy MP Robin Millar made the accusation in a message to his constituents asking for their input into a House of Commons inquiry into expanding Wales tourism industry.

He pointed to the Welsh Government’s consultation on proposals for a tourism tax, set to begin in Autumn 2022, as proof that they were opposed to the industry.

“While the Welsh Government is seeking to deter visitors through the implementation of a tourism levy, I welcome this inquiry that will help to chart the ways in which the UK Government can support the reinvigoration of the Welsh visitor economy,” Robin Millar said.

“Tourism is invaluable to the Welsh economy and is especially important to our local economy here in Aberconwy.

“The pandemic cost the Welsh tourism sector £6billion in 2020 alone but even pre-pandemic, the potential of Wales to attract visitors from around the world was not being realised.”

He added that “Wales deserves to be a truly global tourist destination”.

“Maximising sustainable tourism is key to creating more jobs throughout Wales and this inquiry, titled ‘Wales as a Global Tourist Destination,’ is an opportunity for residents and tourism operators to contribute their ideas, as well as their concerns, about how to unlock the potential of Wales’ tourism sector.

“The inquiry is calling for evidence and I urge as many residents and operators as possible to contribute.”

Contributions to the inquiry can be submitted here.

Tourism provides a substantial economic contribution to Wales with tourism-related expenditure reaching more than £5bn annually in 2019.

‘Sustainable’

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, announced a consultation on a tourism tax in Wales last week.

The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, and the Cooperation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, both contain commitments to introduce levies.

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said: “Visitor levies are a common feature in tourist destinations internationally. They are an opportunity for visitors to make an investment in local infrastructure and services, which in turn make tourism a success.

“Without such a levy, local communities face an undue burden to fund local services and provisions on which tourists rely. From keeping the beaches and pavements clean, through to maintaining local parks, toilets and footpaths – the critical infrastructure that supports tourism should be supported by all those that rely on it.

“The introduction and subsequent use of such a levy would enable destinations in Wales to be enjoyed for generations to come and encourage a more sustainable approach to tourism.

“The levy would be proportionate by design, and powers to raise the levy would be discretionary for local authorities. This would enable decisions to be taken locally, according to the needs of our communities. The levy will apply to those paying to stay overnight within a local authority area.

“Opportunities for wider contributions on the cost impact of other types of visitor activities on local infrastructure will be offered as part of the consultation on the levy.”

‘Disaster’

North Wales Tourism chief executive Jim Jones hit out at the “regressive” move, after the Welsh Government announced the consultation.

Labour and Plaid say the measure, which forms part of their cooperation agreement, would raise revenue for local authorities enabling them to manage services and infrastructure which makes tourism a success.

But according to Jim Jones it would be an “absolute disaster”, which would “damage and industry that is already reeling” from the pandemic.

He argued that the tourism sector is already “already heavily overtaxed” in Wales.

Jim Jones told the Daily Post said: “A tax on tourism would be a hugely regressive step that would damage and industry that is already reeling after being battered by the pandemic.

“It also makes no sense strategically because the tourism and hospitality sector is well-placed to lead North Wales on the path to economic recovery so this would be a hindrance in terms of our regional revival.

“We speak to businesses every day and they are totally opposed to the idea of a tourism tax.

“The sector is already heavily overtaxed as it is and on top of everything else loans taken during the pandemic have to be repaid.

“Local authorities already receive millions of pounds of compensation by Welsh Government to deal with the influx of visitors via the enhanced population grant – the greater the number of visitor, the more money they receive, I think we need to establish where this money is spent first.

“We would oppose the introduction of a tourism tax at anytime but to consider that now would be an absolute disaster.

“It would be counter productive and deter visitors from coming here which would in turn damage our economic performance.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

18 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Grayham Jones
7 months ago

No more second homes in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 all business in wales must be run by welsh people only not incomers so all the money stays in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
7 months ago

Robin Millar, a man who had never lived in my constituency until he won the election (I believe he is here now, in rented accommodation, although he has a seasonal home in Gwynedd) is wrong yet again. Tourism accounts for 6% of the GVA of Wales* – you’d think it was so much more when you hear him and his ilk pontificate – I wish the politicians that serve us would be much more ambitious for Wales!
(*https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-01/welcome-to-wales-priorities-for-the-visitor-economy-2020-to-2025-summary.pdf)

Paul
Paul
7 months ago
Reply to  Ed Jones

They want to encourage a low wage tourism dependent economy. They want to leave us with few options beyond the disneyfication of our entire country.

Paul
Paul
7 months ago

Let us be upfront about the ‘issue’ the ‘England only and forever’ Tory MPs have with a tourist tax … The world over, they are used to increase the attractiveness of the offering and so increase tourist spend per head employed in the sector. Right now, our take is very low compared to our nearest neighbour. Increasing that take ‘may’ lower it in England. That is what our ‘representatives’ are desperate to avoid. They cannot stand the idea of Wales doing better and thereby demonstrating our ability to manage our own affairs. A poor Wales is a Wales in the… Read more »

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

100% this⬆️

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

It must have been Millar’s turn today to spout unadulterated rubbish. Do the instructions come from the office of the Oaf or do they have freedom to choose any subject they might fancy ?

Richard
Richard
7 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I think he has jumped the rota. He is not due till the end of the month…it is the Anglesey Tory lady this week then the Wrexham one next week. Perhaps 🤔 someone misread the Memo from HQ ?

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
7 months ago

what a load of rubbish from millar,no surprise there.I make a living out of tourism and there is pleanty of headspace for a tourism tax.

Andrew
Andrew
7 months ago

‘Will you accept your second class status as a nation of waiters and waitresses ?’. Roger Waters from the album, Radio Chaos. A direct reference to the Welsh predicament since the coal industry was destroyed by Thatcher. Are we just a playground nowadays.

Ann
Ann
7 months ago

I didn’t notice it having an impact on tourism in Switzerland where many of the local authorities use it to, among other things, give tourists free travel on their excellent public transport systems.

Erisian
Erisian
7 months ago

Given the litter, dog crap, and congestion they cause it does not seem unreasonable to question where the extra costs currently fall. Obviously hoteliers, campsite owners AirB&B owners and others in the tourist industry rely on grockles to make ends meet, but they sure as hell don’t pay enough in taxes to cover the extra costs that the rest of us subsideise through council tax.
Damn it – some of them claim their rental properties a small businesses and pay virtually nothing to anyone except the Inland revenue ( if they lack sufficiently creative accountant).

R W
R W
7 months ago

The Tories want to turn Wales into one big Disneyland. Tourism is devolved, so MPs should keep their noses out of the Senedd’s business.

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

Is this the same Conservative Party that would be happy to see Cardiff Airport closed down and everyone to fly from Bristol instead? I want Wales to be able to promote itself around world. The Tories want to keep Wales as ‘Britain’s best kept secret’.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago

What utter tosh from another Welsh Conservative. Wales needs a tourism tax to protect and invest in communities where tourism is having an adverse affect, such as on the housing market. This is precisely why many famous tourist destinations around the world have tourism taxation. Once again these objections are not out of concern for the tourism industry, in Wales, but as an attack on Welsh devolution and the fear of lost revenue through second homes etc.

Glen
Glen
7 months ago

What Wales needs is less tourists spending more money.
Caravan owners should be eligible for council tax for a start.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
7 months ago
Reply to  Glen

Yn union! A tourism tax represents a start to tackling the the low-spend mass unregulated tourism that has been imposed on parts of Wales for decades. The revenue from a pair of flip flops and a couple of ice creams is hardly “invaluable to the Welsh economy”, especially when that revenue is hoovered up by the cost of cleaning up the mess. Millar makes one rational comment, though: “Wales deserves to be a truly global tourist destination”. To achieve that, local authorities must be able to prevent the kind of free-for-all that we saw in April 2020 during the lockdown.… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Rhosddu
Cynan
Cynan
7 months ago

No. Not visitors. Just Tories

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
7 months ago

Jim Jones… “absolute disaster”. For who? Large businesses are ploughing millions of pounds buying anything that’s on sale in order to cash in on the staycation boom. Tourist businesses themselves over the last couple of summers have bragged over the money they’re making. His rhetoric shows he cares little about the region and serves only those who want to max out profits.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.