The Welsh Government has launched a public consultation today on proposals to give local authorities the powers to introduce a tourist tax.
The visitor levy would be a small charge paid by people staying overnight in accommodation in Wales.
Each local authority in Wales will have the power to decide if they want to introduce a tourism tax, and the money raised will be re-invested in local areas to support local tourism.
This could be investment in keeping the beaches and pavements clean, through to maintaining local parks, toilets and footpaths.
More than 40 countries and holiday destinations around the world have introduced a form of visitor levy, including Greece, France, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and California. A discretionary visitor levy for local authorities in Wales would represent a very small proportion of a visitor’s overall spend.
The consultation seeks views on who should pay a levy, who would be charging and collecting the levy, how the levy could be best applied and how revenues from the tax could be allocated.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said: “These proposals are about preparing for the future.
“Our intention is to bring about a sense of shared responsibility between residents and visitors, to protect, and invest in, our local areas. By asking visitors – whether they have travelled from within Wales or from further afield – to make a small contribution towards maintaining and enhancing the place they are visiting, we will encourage a more sustainable approach for tourism.”
Proposals for a visitor levy have been progressed through Welsh Government’s Co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru. Plaid Cymru Designated Member Cefin Campbell said: “While Wales may be the first place in the UK to introduce such a levy, we do not believe it will be the last – as we have seen recently, a visitor levy may soon be introduced in Edinburgh so Wales is not alone.
“We want to continue to see a thriving tourism industry in Wales. It is vital we have sustainable, responsible tourism that works both for visitors and for the communities they are visiting. Should local authorities decide to implement a visitor levy, it could make a real difference in communities across Wales to help develop and protect local services and infrastructure. We welcome all views in understanding what would work well for Wales and encourage everyone to contribute to the consultation.”
The Chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance, former Conservative MS, Suzy Davies, has been a vocal critic of the plan to introduce a tourism tax, saying the plans would lead to a contraction of the tourism industry and put jobs at risk.
To have your say, visit the online consultation at https://gov.wales/visitor-levy