If ideas for a tourist levy go ahead, Yorkshire folk may be charged for vacationing in Wales. The Welsh government said that suggestions for a tourism tax would be put to the public this autumn. It would allow local governments to impose fees on visitors who visit their areas.
Hospitality executives, small business owners, and tourist executives have warned that a new fee on foreign visitors to Wales would ‘decimate’ the tourism industry.
It’s no secret that the cost of living in the UK has skyrocketed with energy bills, fuel and other such things adding a train to the economy. These businesses are concerned that visitors, who are already financially strained would choose somewhere else to vacate, according to NorthWalesLive. Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions, has called the scheme “unfathomable.”
They said: “Even more significant for Welsh tourism is that British people are expected to see the largest decline in living standards since the 1950s, with £1,200 in additional household costs and a real income drop of almost 3%,” Mr Price said. As a result, several families’ future Welsh vacations are already in jeopardy.
“All the other devolved areas have looked at the idea of a tourism tax. The most recent was Scotland. In the end, they all have abandoned the idea owing to the potential damage to their tourism industries.
“If this Welsh tourism tax does come about, how many of our potential customers will simply vote with their feet and go to Devon, Ireland, or Scotland rather than pay yet another tax at a time when they are trying to cope with a personal cost of living crisis?”
The tax is intended to collect funds for local governments to administer services and infrastructure in attractive tourist destinations. However, the initiative has already caused anxiety and outrage among tourism-dependent Welsh firms.
Wales’ second major industry is tourism, with visitors spending an average of £8 million every day. According to Mr Price, the visitor economy employs a quarter of all VAT-registered enterprises.
“Wales has much to lose if this tax is implemented. Surely we need to encourage tourists to come to Wales, not tax them for coming!” he said.
Any additional levy, according to William Lees-Jones, owner of the 194-year-old JW Lees Brewery company, will drive tourists to Spain rather than Wales.
“It [the tourist tax] will be a disaster,’ he told MailOnline. People will simply travel to Spain instead.”
According to the Welsh Government, visitor fees are used to help local communities, tourists, and businesses all over the world. “We will take all perspectives into account as part of the consultation process this autumn,” a spokeswoman stated.
The lengthy process of formulating levy proposals, translating them into legislation, and then delivering and implementing them would take years and will be subject to Senedd [Welsh Parliament] approval.