What we would What the Tourism Industry Needs to thrive and grow - There needs to be a reconsideration post-Election, Brexit or no Brexit, of all UK government support provided to the Tourism Industry in Wales. It is an opportunity for a fresh look at the needs of the tourism industry across the UK and the returns which will be obtained from a more realistic level of support. It is a time when the rules are being re-written. Let it be done in a way which realises the potential of the tourism industry in the UK and specifically Wales.
More generally, the WTA would like to see greater political recognition of the value of the Tourism Industry too Wales, all to often there is little direct mention in the Party manifestos.
Visitors contribute an annual spend of c£6.2 billion to the Welsh economy - The current level of UK and via Welsh Government support for investment in the industry from all its various support schemes, has probably been running at no more than £10 million annually. The Tourism Industry in Wales needs its fair share of UK Government support post the election of a new Government in Westminster. The industry should have a specific allocation of funding linked to the new Development Framework and Strategy to support capital investment and product development in tourism businesses. The scheme rules should reflect the fact that the industry is mainly composed of micro businesses and SMEs, mostly owner managed. An earmarked development tourism fund of £20 million annually would not be out of place bearing in mind the size of tourism contribution to GDP and its further growth potential.
A Meaningful Marketing Budget for Wales - The fall in the value of the pound makes us a more attractive destination to overseas visitors while the increase in the cost of overseas holidays may persuade more UK residents to holiday at home. But this will only happen if knowledge of what we offer is brought to the market place. The small scale nature of tourism businesses in Wales means that UK alongside Welsh Government support is vital for the effective marketing of the industry via Visit Britain. By comparison with competitor destinations, the current marketing budget available to Visit Wales is small by comparison. The WTA looks to the UK Government via Visit Britain to increase the scope and level of assistance given to Visit Wales to develop key markets for Wales overseas, including those markets now served by international airlines using airports in close proximity to Wales.
Taxation Policies which promote the Competitiveness of the Industry - We note the Liberal Democrats and others references to Local Tourism Taxation - the WTA does not see this as a way forward. In common with the rest of the UK, the industry in Wales is penalised in comparison with near European countries by the current rate of VAT. The WTA calls on any new UK Government to reduce the rate to a more competitive level for the industry. In addition we call for a review of the principles and practice underlying the present system of Business Rates. Within the responsibilities of the new UK Government, the WTA urges the avoidance of any further taxation measures which would affect the competitiveness of the industry.
Maintaining and Improving the Skills needed by the Industry - EU nationals play an important part in some sectors of the industry in Wales, as elsewhere in the UK they will continue to be needed. New policies and legislation needs to realistically reflect this.
Ensuring Key Tourism Infrastructure - Key tourism services and infrastructure provided by local authorities is undoubtedly disappearing because of financial pressures across Wales and the UK. The WTA proposes that the new UK Government works with the Welsh Government to seek ways in which the impact of public expenditure reductions might be ameliorated in Wales.
Wales Tourism Alliance - November 2019