Report should end ‘tourism tax’ debate - state Welsh Conservatives

Sunday 7th August 2022 8:00 am
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The Welsh Conservatives have reiterated their criticism of Labour’s plan to introduce a tourism tax at the worst possible time for Welsh tourism after a survey highlighted affordability as a key determinant in holidaymakers’ choices.

As Wales competes with the rest of the UK for domestic trips, a report by Visit Wales highlighted the cost of living crisis as continuing to play an important role in trip choice.

‘Great value for money’ is the number one destination influence for domestic holidays/short breaks in the next 12 months as the cost of living crisis hits Welsh holidaymaker’s pockets.

Two-thirds (67%) of the domestic holiday market believe they have been negatively impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

The report pointed out that one of the key draws to Wales is cheaper accommodation, but the Labour Government is pushing ahead with plans to introduce a tourism levy to increase those costs.

According to the survey, around 3-in-5 of the UK holiday market have taken a short break or holiday in Wales previously and intend to do so again. This represents a large potential market that will only be discouraged by the additional costs incurred by such a regressive levy.

It comes after the Wales Tourism Alliance, UKHospitality, and the Professional Association of Self-Caters UK agreed with the Welsh Conservatives that the Labour Government’s approach to tourism – which includes more than doubling the number of days a self-catering property is required to be made available to let or face punitive taxes – is an assault on rural Wales.

Commenting on the news, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport Tom Giffard MS said: “Labour have been fixated on the introduction of a tourism tax which, with rising inflation, can only worsen Wales’ position as an attractive tourist destination.

“It is encouraging to hear that Wales is still a much loved tourist destination for holidaymakers, but the understandable concerns raised relating to the cost of visits are alarming considering Labour’s plans to raise them further with this levy.

“The Welsh Conservatives are strongly opposed to the introduction of a tourism tax which represents another Labour policy failure, letting down the Welsh tourism industry yet again.

“Given that one in seven Welsh Jobs rely on the tourism industry, this tax will put livelihoods at risk. The timing is wrong and the policy should be scrapped.”

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