Wales could soon charge holidaymakers a tax for visiting in ‘anti-English’ plans
Parts of Wales may soon be able to introduce a tourist tax.
If the proposals were implemented, councils could choose whether or not to introduce a visitor fee. Ministers said a tourism levy would help councils pay for services and infrastructure at tourist hotspots. A planned consultation will be launched by the Welsh Government this autumn.
But the idea sparked outrage and the plans were criticized in some quarters. Ashford Price, a stalwart of the Welsh Tourist Attractions Association (WAVA), warned it would harm the country’s tourism sector and said the charge reflected an “un-English” agenda.
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He added that the idea was “unfathomable” for the tourism industry, which is still slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses now also face rising costs for energy, fuel, food and insurance.
He said: “Even more critical for Welsh tourism, Britons are set to see the biggest drop in living standards since the 1950s, with £1,200 in extra household spending and a fall in real income of more than 3% So for some families their future Welsh holidays are already in doubt.
“All the other decentralized territories have considered the idea of a tourist tax. The most recent was Scotland. Ultimately, they all scrapped the idea due to the potential damage to their tourism industries.
“If this Welsh visitor’s tax materializes, how many of our potential customers will just vote with their feet and go to Devon or Ireland or Scotland rather than pay another tax at a time when they are trying to meet a cost live crisis personnel?
In many parts of Wales, 80% of their visitors come from England. Tourism is Wales’ second largest industry, with visitors spending an average of £8million a day. A quarter of all businesses subject to VAT are part of the visitor economy. Mr Price asked if Wales could really afford to lose this industry.
The Welsh government says visitor taxes are commonplace around the world, with revenue being used to benefit local communities, tourists and businesses. A spokesperson added: “We will consider all views as part of the consultation process this fall. The careful process of developing levy proposals, translating them into legislation, and then delivering and implementing them. work spans years and will be subject to approval by the Senedd.
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