The forty ninth meeting of the Caravan & Camping Forum for Wales (CCFW) took place on Tuesday 22 October 2019 at the Media Resource Centre, Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 6AH. WTA Policy Advisor, Adrian Greason-Walker was present.
The meeting reviewed the market and discussed the 2019 season. In summary, it was noted that the weather had had a significant impact on the main summer months, with touring occupancy down and some parks having to cancel customer bookings due to the weather conditions. Generally it was reported that there was a very mixed picture with people looking for value in terms of activities and accommodation. Four-star family holiday parks had seen the strongest occupancy levels over the summer months. It was also believed that Brexit uncertainty continued to impact holiday choices, but the increase in the popularity of the ‘staycation’ had been a positive for parks.
Tourism Tax - The meeting noted the Scottish consultation on a proposed Scottish Tourist Tax. Mr Greason-Walker reported that Jason Thomas, Cadw had spoken of a Welsh Consultation on a Tourist Tax at the recent Visit Wales Roadshows. It was noted that both Conwy County Borough Council and Gwynedd County Council were looking into consultations on the tax.
Draft National Planning Framework 2020-2040 - It was reported that the consultation period for the Draft National Planning Framework had been extended to 15 November 2019 and that consultation sessions had been held across Wales during September and October. It was noted that the consultation was on high-level objectives, highlighting that the Framework was a form of guidance.
Rating revaluation - The meeting noted the ongoing revaluation and that costs of park business had increased as well as the higher rates received for high quality letting which might impact on overall averages. It was noted that the process for appeals from 2017 had begun.
Electric cars - The meeting discussed the increased popularity in electric cars and the impact that a lack of charging infrastructure could have on the industry, rural and coastal economies. Mrs Pritchard reported that the BH&HPA had written to the Secretary of State for Transport raising concerns and seeking guidance on the transition to electric vehicles and had received a response from the Minister for Transport. The response had highlighted that Government expected the transition to be consumer and market led, but that Government intervention would be considered in areas of market failure.
Mr Greason-Walker highlighted the appointment of Helen Whately MP as UK Tourism Minister and her attendance at the recent Tourism Sector Deal conference. The meeting noted that the notion of ‘tourism zones’ was to be discussed but at present there was little indication on budget or a Welsh proposal and whether this would be a particular area in Wales.
Mr Greason-Walker reported on the inquiry into access to banking which highlighted the importance of cash to businesses and consumers, especially in rural and coastal areas. It was discussed how access to cash machines was crucial to the future of cash availability and how the government and the consumer would be involved in paying for them.
It was confirmed that Wales Tourism Week for 2020 would be Monday 4 May – Friday 8 May 2020, with the evening reception on Tuesday 5 May 2020.