Visitors to Wales could face an additional charge on top of their holiday costs in the form of a tourist tax. The Welsh Government launched a public consultation earlier this week on proposals to introduce a visitor levy to encourage “sustainable tourism”. But would this put you off holidaying in the UK? Vote in our poll.
The tourist tax would be a small additional charge paid by visitors staying overnight in accommodation in Wales.
The Welsh Government claim the tourist tax would be a very small proportion of a visitor’s overall spend in the country.
Each local authority would be able to choose whether to introduce the fee “according to the needs of their communities”.
Investments from the money raised could be made to maintain beaches and parks, clean pavements and footpaths and public facilities including toilets.
READ MORE:Welsh people could have to pay tourism tax in their own country
The Welsh Government’s consultation documents suggest that the levy would also apply to people who live in Wales and travel to another part of the country.
There is no suggestion of a business privilege but the fee may be limited to a number of days and include some exemptions.
The process of introducing the tax would take a number of years and may not receive final approval by the Senedd until 2024.
Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell said: “While Wales may be the first place in the UK to introduce such a levy we do not believe it will be the last – as we have seen recently a visitor levy may soon be introduced in Edinburgh so Wales is not alone.”
He continued: “We want to continue to see a thriving tourism industry in Wales. It is vital we have sustainable, responsible tourism that works both for visitors and for the communities they are visiting.
“Should local authorities decide to implement a visitor levy it could make a real difference in communities across Wales to help develop and protect local services and infrastructure.
“We welcome all views in understanding what would work well for Wales and encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation.”
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour MP and minister for finance and local government, added: “These proposals are about preparing for the future. Our intention is to bring about a sense of shared responsibility between residents and visitors, to protect, and invest in, our local areas.
“By asking visitors – whether they have travelled from within Wales or from further afield – to make a small contribution towards maintaining and enhancing the place they are visiting we will encourage a more sustainable approach for tourism.”
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Meanwhile, the Welsh Conservatives said the plan could put livelihoods at risk, should the levy put off visitors.
Similarly, Chris Frost, chairman of North Wales Tourism, said businesses were still struggling after the pandemic, despite an influx of visitors.
Mr Frost, who owns Manorhaus restaurant with rooms in Ruthin, Denbighshire, told the BBC: “With the surges in the supply chains and utilities and food costs, employment costs rising, the cost of doing business at the moment is just absolutely a massive challenge for the industry. Now is not the time for a consultation on a proposed tourism levy.”
More than 40 countries and holiday destinations around the world have introduced a tourist tax, including Paris, Venice, Madrid, Greece, Japan and New Zealand.
Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh is also looking to introduce a tourist tax in the near future.
So what do YOU think? Would tourist tax put you off holidaying in Wales? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.