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Opinion

Achieving sustainable and fair tourism: Why we’re launching a consultation on a visitor levy for Wales

07 Sep 2022 4 minute read
Cefin Campbell and Rebecca Evans. Pictures by Senedd Cymru

Rebecca Evans, Welsh Government Minister for Finance and Local Government

Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Designated Member

A warm Welsh welcome.

That’s what people from Wales, England and further afield can expect to receive when they visit the spectacular tourist destinations we have to offer.

With our thriving cities, epic landscapes and coastal towns and villages there’s something for everyone in Wales – and we want to show it off.

And to be able to continue doing this, we need to make sure communities are supported.

Next Tuesday (13th) we’ll be launching a consultation on our proposal for a visitor levy. This is one of the ways we’re looking to support tourism, in the interests of businesses, communities and visitors alike.

Sustainability and fairness

A levy is about sustainability and fairness.

Sustainability, because keeping our coastline clean, our parks pristine and our cities vibrant takes work – and a levy will help communities maintain our beautiful destinations for generations in the future.

And fairness, because the infrastructure which supports tourism should be funded by all those who rely on it, not local residents alone.

Our vision is to grow tourism for the good of Wales. A visitor levy will contribute to sustainable, fair tourism – with economic growth coexisting with environmental sustainability.

Why not Wales?

Nothing is happening overnight; the process of creating legislation and implementing a levy would take many years.

While the specific detail of the proposal is still being developed – which is what the consultation will help us to do – we envisage a levy would apply to overnight visits. This is generally the case in other countries where visitor levies are used. We see it as a small charge that contributes to sustainable tourism.

We want visitors to know that their contribution could make a big difference in supporting the destinations they love and enjoy. A small charge wouldn’t be unique to Wales. If someone has been on holiday to Greece or France, to the Netherlands or New Zealand – or to any of more than 40 countries around the world who have visitor levies – they will have paid a small charge to help keep those places attractive to visit. They may not even have noticed paying it.

And while Wales may be the first place in the UK to introduce such a levy, we do not believe it will be the last. Increasingly the UK nations look to be outliers in not asking tourists to pay a small charge to support the areas they are visiting. A levy will put Wales on the same standing as other world class tourist destinations. So why not Wales?

It is also important to remember that we are proposing to give councils the option of introducing a levy. The scale and economic impact of tourism varies significantly across Wales. Our plans would give local areas the power to decide if a levy would be right for them.

New Quay in Ceredigion. Picture by Bruce Sinclair

Public debate

The idea for the levy originated from a public debate and call for ideas about new taxes in Wales. As we take forward this process we will continue to be open and transparent, listening to all who want to have their say. We have already been speaking to businesses, third sector representatives, councils, industry bodies and counterparts in overseas administrations who have visitor levies in place.

We want to ensure people have the opportunity to join those voices in shaping our approach, and the consultation we are launching next week will be the latest way to make this happen. Details will be available on the Welsh Government website and we look forward to hearing what people have to say.

We know how important tourism is to so many parts of Wales, and it’s vital we have sustainable, responsible tourism that works both for visitors and for the communities they’re visiting.

So please get involved, have your say, and help us extend our warm Welsh welcome to generations to come.

The visitor levy is being taken forward as part of the Co-operation Agreement signed between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.


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13 Comments
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jack piroe
jack piroe
28 days ago

Garbage! They both say a levy would take years to implement! Slow and cumbersome government.

Steve George
Steve George
28 days ago
Reply to  jack piroe

I agree. I support a levy and, while there’s clearly a need to consult on how it would work, there’s no need for it to take years and years to implement. Get your arses in gear boys and girls!

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
28 days ago

Watch them getting banned from Dan yr Ogof now!

Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
27 days ago

Our countryside and beaches are an economic resource that should be paid for just just like everything else. Why should local inhabitants pay for repair and cleaning, be priced out of the housing market, be inconvenienced by overcrowding, charged more for parking etc. and for what? low paid seasonal work?

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
27 days ago

Whack it on & then whack it up!!!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
27 days ago

Because Wales has very limited tax powers compared to most normal developed countries who don’t have their near neighbour dictate how much money they receive in their block, what powers their government can have or can’t , or have the indignity of witnessing them exploit their natural resources to the financial benefit of others not themselves. This is what we face as a native people & country. And we wouldn’t need any tourist levy if the Senedd Cymru & Welsh Government had control of our resources , meaning instead of billions being syphoned away into the bank accounts of water… Read more »

Peter Jones
Peter Jones
27 days ago

I Already pay tax which pays for this. Seems like the same argument for car park charges, council tax increases, fuel tax, green tax and the other dozen taxes. Many will just head to Cornwall for holiday so the welsh get what they want with no outsiders welcome. It’s a real shame to watch the welsh government trying to destroy the country. I think they are just trying to compete with the Westminister government and don’t realise they are there to improve lives not destroy them

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter Jones

They’ll all head to Cornwall just to save something like £2 a night?

The Cornish will then just bump their prices up.

Last edited 27 days ago by Nobby Tart
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter Jones

What a load of nonsense.

Most countries in Europe and North America have a visitor levy – the most visited places on earth.

You may pay your taxes but you don’t directly contribute towards the upkeep of the roads of the places you visit, or contribute towards refuse collection that are often overflowing after a busy tourist season.

Why shouldn’t you contribute a small fee towards any of that when you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if you did so in France or Italy?!

blinderus
blinderus
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter Jones

Have you been to England recently? Not uncommon in popular areas to pay 40p+ to use a public toilet, and over £7 to park for a few hours. An own goal?

Ap Kenneth
27 days ago

What do visitors want, information centres, toilets, walking paths stiles, parking, buses (Snowdon Ranger), clean beaches, rubbish cleared. If monies are used for those sort of purposes with input from those collecting and those paying the charge then that would seem reasonable. I have paid such charges on most holidays abroad and do not take it personally.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
24 days ago

This policy will be yet another Policy from the Welsh Govt in which they intend to hide from the consequences and if it goes wrong hide behind the “we are proposing to give councils the option of introducing a levy.” They have done this with the increased Council Charge policy for second homes already. Its like lighting a bombs detonator and then standing back and watching the mess develop. Very cleaver really but not the way you would expect a National Govt to do business. God help the poor local Cllrs while the SM’s swan around saying ” nothing to… Read more »

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
22 days ago

Edinburgh may beat us to it.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2022/09/07/plans-announced-for-edinburgh-tourist-tax/

Are they being ‘anti-English’ too?

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