Welsh government launches public consultation on ‘tourist levy’ plans

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New Quay. Photo by Heikki Immonen (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Government has launched a public consultation today, September 20, on proposals to give local authorities the power to introduce a ‘tourist tax’ on visitors.

The levy would be a small charge paid by people staying overnight in accommodation in Wales.

These proposals aim to prepare for the future. Our intention is to create a sense of shared responsibility among residents and visitors, to protect and invest in our local areas,” Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans said.

“By asking visitors – whether they have traveled from Wales or further afield – to make a small contribution to maintaining and improving the place they are visiting, we will encourage a more sustainable approach to tourism. .”

Visitor tax proposals have been put forward as part of the co-operation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

“Although Wales may be the first place in the UK to introduce such a tax, we don’t think it will be the last – as we have seen recently a visitor tax could soon be introduced in Edinburgh, so Wales is not alone”, Plaid Cymru Designated Member Cefin Campbell said.

“We want to continue to see a thriving tourism industry in Wales. It is essential that we have sustainable and responsible tourism that works for both visitors and the communities they visit.

“If local authorities decided to introduce a visitor tax, it could make a real difference to communities in Wales to help develop and protect local services and infrastructure.

“We welcome all views to understand what would work well for Wales and encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation.”

WLGA leader Councilor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf) said: Wales is known around the world as a top destination, but it is important to ensure that tourism is sustainable and receives the right investment so that it can be enjoyed in the future.

“Under these proposals, councils would have the discretion to raise the levy to ensure their communities and tourism infrastructure are properly funded.

“Taxes are a common feature in tourist destinations internationally and the upcoming consultation is an important opportunity for residents and businesses to have a say in the way forward.”

Who should pay?

The consultation seeks views on who should pay a levy, who would charge and collect the levy, how the levy might best be applied and how the revenue from the levy might be allocated.

Each local authority in Wales will have the power to decide whether they want to introduce a visitor tax, and the money raised will be reinvested in local areas to support local tourism.

More than 40 countries and holiday destinations around the world have introduced some form of tourist tax, including Greece, France, Amsterdam, Barcelona and California.

A discretionary visitor’s tax for local authorities in Wales would represent a very small proportion of a visitor’s overall expenditure.

The process of translating the tourist tax proposals into legislation will take several years and will be subject to the approval of the Senedd.

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