Tourism leaders in Wales have written to the two candidates vying for the role of the First Minister – and are looking for action, not sweet words.

The industry, which employs more people than the steel industry in Wales, has been dealing with a flood of policy changes from different Welsh Government ministers in the last two years.

Thousands of small businesses, key to their local economies, are being overwhelmed by the number of new regulations and costs which are being imposed in such a short space of time.

The Wales Tourism Alliance has written to Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles, pointing out that, as the First Minister has the oversight of all departments, he should be querying the cumulative effect of all these interventions.

Suzy Davies, chair of the WTA said: “It is important that the new First Minister understands that tourism is an eco-system as well as an industry. It is a joint effort by everyone who shares their part of the world with visitors, and who subsequently share the benefits. The co-signatories to this letter reflect this wider understanding, and that tourism remains a prime economic driver in so many parts of Wales

“We are asking the candidates to commit to a date for a review of the cumulative effect of policies currently affecting tourism; business rate relief, the 182-day rule, council tax premiums, planning restrictions, specific changes to fire and waste collection regulations.

“We also ask them to consider, within that, the additional effect of proposed policies such as statutory licensing, tourism tax and changes to the school year. We would expect any such review to include consideration of the knock-on effects across that eco-system, for example, on retail and farming.”

She added: “We also ask for action, in the first 100 days, on the 182-day rule. This treats bona fide local holiday let businesses as second homes, for the purposes of local taxation, if they cannot show 182-days occupancy.

“This means they are denied business rate relief and required to pay domestic council tax instead, and at increasing levels of premium in some local authority areas.

“However they will still be subject to the same costs and regulatory requirements, including national tax, as other businesses, which is both unique and legally incoherent.

“We have no argument with Welsh Government trying to manage the number of second homes – but these businesses are not second homes. The new First Minister will be asked either to change the threshold or accept the need for some exceptions in the most serious cases of injustice.

“We are looking for a First Minister who sees the benefits of a well-being industry for Wales, and understands that good relationships need more than sweet words”