WTA expresses concern that 78% of respondents to the Welsh Government's own consultation were clearly against a Tourism Tax
The Wales Tourism Alliance is deeply concerned that although 78% of respondents to the Welsh Government’s own consultation were clearly against a Tourism Tax, it has announced it intends pushing ahead with its proposals.
The announcement from Rebecca Evans’s MS Minister for Finance and Local Government (30/03/2023) now drives towards making a Tourism Levy a political certainty and a cornerstone of local government financing reform.
Suzy Davies, Chair of the WTA said:
“The industry has explained, time and time again, that we are facing un-precedented challenges. The effects of the cost of living crisis, on the back of the effects of covid, will continue to be felt for years. Yet the visitor economy is being treated as fair game for a raft of new tax and regulation at exactly the same time as it struggling to maintain its contribution to public coffers due to surging costs and uncertain demand.
“We do not understand why this announcement is being made at this time. It will merely apply extra financial pressures on the hard-hit operators, the majority of whom are micro family businesses who work hard in an industry which contributes the equivalent of over a third of Welsh Government’s budget.
“Councils in areas with high visitor levels already receive extra money for certain services where the temporary additional population is considered to have an impact. The businesses which benefit directly from visitor spend already pay tax locally and nationally – including levels of VAT which are much higher than in countries which have a tourism tax. How many times does Welsh Government want to tax the same tourist pound?
“In reality, the proposals could – cumulatively - lead to a contraction in the visitor economy in areas of Wales that are most dependent on the tourism sector, and act as a roadblock to creating new jobs in parts of Wales where there is untapped potential. Killing jobs, growth and new entrants to a sustainable tourism industry in Wales’.
At this stage, although the Minister says that she and respondents to the consultation wish to see any tax take spent for the benefit of tourists and host communities, there is no steer on how to achieve that.
While she acknowledges that the industry is against a tourism tax, the Minister has said repeatedly that she wants to work with the industry to try and make a success of it. That means listening to the expertise of those who actually deliver the visitor experience and their inconvenient truths.
Note to Editors: Further information on the WTA can be found on Wales Tourism Alliance website: - http://www.wta.org.uk. Further contact e-mail email@example.com.