Tourist tax would be ‘disastrous’ for Wales – ‘Big trouble’

Richard Tice hits out at demand for child-free air travel

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Wales has yet to introduce a tourist tax but is consulting later this year. Visitors to Wales would have to pay a small fee to stay overnight.

WTA chair Suzy Davies said: “Businesses have been telling us they’re either going to close because they can’t cope with the uncertainty or they are certain they’re going to go out of business because they can’t afford to stay in business.

“It should be a real concern to Welsh Government, which will say it is listening. Whether it’s actually believing what it’s been told is a different matter.

“This is not a matter of people just complaining.”

The tourism sector was worth about five billion pounds in 2019 in Wales and has grown during the pandemic.

Ashford Price, from the National Showcaves Centre for Wales in the Brecon Beacons told the BBC a tax would be “disastrous”.

He said his survey had shown that 70 percent of visitors would consider going elsewhere if Wales introduced a tax.

He added: “If Wales becomes the only devolved nation to introduce this tourism tax, then we’re in big trouble.”

While tourism taxes are common across Europe and the wider world, there are none currently in place in the UK.

However, some people would like to see a tax introduced in Wales to help pay for essential services in honeypot areas.

Residents in Bournemouth have also called for a tourist tax to help cover the costs of cleaning the beaches.

One resident complained that Bournemouth’s beaches were trashed after a sunny weekend with lots of visitors.

Tourism taxes in Spain, Italy and France are often used to boost local services or protect the environment.

The Welsh Government said that visitors levies were “common around the world” to raise revenue.

It said the money was “used to fund projects within communities, the tourism industry and support local business.”

It added: “We will be consulting, giving local authorities the option of introducing the levy, and we will consider all comments as part of the consultation process.”

Many hospitality businesses are worried about the soaring cost of living and are concerned a fee could put tourists off.

The majority of tourists in Wales are from the rest of the UK, with the largest numbers arriving from England.

Cardiff had 14.6 million visitors in 2009 but many travellers visit Wales to explore its beautiful nature.

Pembrokeshire has some of the country’s best beaches while other tourists travel to attempt to conquer Snowdon.

Caernarfon and Caerphilly Castle also attract large numbers of visitors looking to explore Wales’ history.

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