Visitors from Wales may face an additional charge on top of their accommodation costs in the form of a tourist tax. The Welsh Government launched a public consultation earlier this week on proposals to introduce a visitor tax to encourage “sustainable tourism”. But would that discourage you from going on holiday to the UK? Vote in our poll.
The tourist tax would be a small supplement paid by visitors staying overnight in accommodation in Wales.
The Welsh Government claims that the visitor’s tax would only represent a very small proportion of a visitor’s overall expenditure in the country.
Each local authority could choose whether or not to introduce the charge “depending on the needs of its communities”.
Investments from the money raised could be made to maintain beaches and parks, clean sidewalks and trails, and public facilities, including restrooms.
Welsh government consultation documents suggest the tax would also apply to people living in Wales and traveling to another part of the country.
There is no suggestion of commercial privilege, but fees may be limited to a certain number of days and include certain exemptions.
The process of introducing the tax would take a number of years and may not receive final approval from the Senedd until 2024.
Cefin Campbell of Plaid Cymru said: “While Wales may be the first place in the UK to introduce such a levy, we don’t think it will be the last – as we have seen recently, A visitor levy may soon be introduced in Edinburgh, so Wales are not alone.”
He continued: “We want to continue to see a thriving tourism industry in Wales. It is essential that we have sustainable and responsible tourism that works for both visitors and the communities they visit.
“If local authorities decided to introduce a visitor tax, it could make a real difference to communities in Wales to help develop and protect local services and infrastructure.
“We welcome all views to understand what would work well for Wales and encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation.”
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labor MP and Minister for Finance and Local Government, added: “These proposals are about preparing for the future. Our intention is to create a sense of shared responsibility between residents and visitors, to protect and invest in our local territories.
“By asking visitors – whether they have traveled from Wales or further afield – to make a small contribution to maintaining and improving the place they are visiting, we will encourage a more sustainable approach to tourism. .”
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Meanwhile, Welsh Tories have said the plan could put livelihoods at risk if the levy puts visitors off.
Similarly, Chris Frost, chairman of North Wales Tourism, said businesses were still struggling after the pandemic, despite an influx of visitors.
Mr Frost, owner of the Manorhaus restaurant with rooms in Ruthin, Denbighshire, told the BBC: “With increases in supply chains, utilities and food costs, the costs of employment are rising, the cost of doing business right now is absolutely a huge challenge for the industry. Now is not the time to hold a consultation on a tourism tax proposal.”
More than 40 countries and holiday destinations around the world have introduced a tourist tax, including Paris, Venice, Madrid, Greece, Japan and New Zealand.
The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, is also planning to introduce a tourist tax soon.
So what do you think? Would the tourist tax deter you from going on holiday to Wales? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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