Why we are launching a consultation on a visitors tax for Wales

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Cefin Campbell and Rebecca Evans. Images by Senedd Cymru

rebeca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government in the Welsh Government

cefin campbell, Appointed Member of Plaid Cymru

A warm Welsh welcome.

That’s what people in Wales, England and beyond can expect to receive when they visit the spectacular travel destinations we have to offer.

With our thriving cities, epic landscapes and seaside towns and villages, there is something for everyone in Wales, and we want to show it off.

And in order to continue to do this, we need to make sure communities are supported.

Next Tuesday (13) we will launch a consultation on our visitor fee proposal. This is one of the ways we seek to support tourism, in the interest of businesses, communities and visitors alike.

Sustainability and equity

A tax is about sustainability and fairness.

Sustainability, because keeping our coastline clean, our parks pristine, and our cities vibrant takes work, and a tax will help communities maintain our beautiful destinations for future generations.

And fairness, because the infrastructure that supports tourism must be financed by all those who depend on it, not just local residents.

Our vision is to grow tourism for the good of Wales. A visitor tax will contribute to sustainable and fair tourism, with economic growth coexisting with environmental sustainability.

Why not Wales?

Nothing happens overnight; the process of creating legislation and implementing a levy would take many years.

While the specific details of the proposal are still being developed, which is what the consultation will help us do, we anticipate that a tax would be applied to overnight visits. This is generally the case in other countries where visitor taxes are used. We see it as a small burden that contributes to sustainable tourism.

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We want visitors to know that their contribution could make a big difference in supporting the destinations they love and enjoy. A small charge would not be unique to Wales. If someone has vacationed in Greece or France, the Netherlands or New Zealand, or any of the more than 40 countries around the world that have visitor taxes, they will have paid a small fee to help keep those places attractive. to visit. They may not have even realized they paid for it.

And while Wales may be the first place in the UK to introduce such a tax, we don’t think it will be the last. Increasingly, UK nations appear to be outliers in not asking tourists to pay a small fee to support the areas they are visiting. A tax will put Wales in the same position as other world-class tourist destinations. So why not Wales?

It is also important to remember that we are proposing to give local councils the option of introducing a tax. The scale and economic impact of tourism varies significantly in Wales. Our plans would give local areas the power to decide if a tax would be right for them.

New wharf in Ceredigion. Image of Bruce Sinclair

public debate

The idea for the tax originated from public debate and a call for ideas about new taxes in Wales. As we move through this process, we will continue to be open and transparent, listening to everyone who wants to express their opinion. We have already been talking to companies, third sector representatives, councils, industry bodies and counterparts in foreign administrations that have visitor taxes.

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We want to make sure that people have the opportunity to join those voices in shaping our approach, and the consultation we launch next week will be the latest way to make this happen. Details will be available on the Welsh Government website and we look forward to hearing what people have to say.

We know how important tourism is to so many parts of Wales, and it is vital that we have sustainable and responsible tourism that works for both visitors and the communities they visit.

So get involved, have your say and help us extend our warm Welsh welcome to generations to come.

The visitor fee is being carried out as part of the Cooperation Agreement signed between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

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