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Taxing Tourism is no Way to Support our Rural Holiday Industry


CLA Director responds to the Welsh Government Consultation on Proposals for a Visitor Levy for Local Authorities today.

“The Welsh Government’s proposed Visitor Levy could deter much-needed holiday-makers from coming to Wales. It could undermine our tourism sector’s competitiveness and could smear our reputation for providing a warm welcome to visitors,” says CLA Director, Nigel Hollett.

“The Welsh Government invested millions into tourism to create what the Government calls “a world class tourism destination” in the recent past. However the effect of the pandemic lockdowns revealed just how vulnerable the Welsh holiday sector is. Worth about £6.3 billion a year to the economy, visitors to Wales spend around £17 million a day and the sector employs about 10 per cent of our workforce – more in many rural areas. All this could be undone.”

“Now’s not the time to jeopardise vital revenue-streams for farms which have diversified into tourism as agriculture has become intensely challenged by high fuel, fertiliser and fodder prices, intense regulation and cheap imports. The rural economy is hounded by uncertainty as we’re yet to understand what level of support farms will receive under the new Sustainable Farming Scheme.”

Nigel continues,

“An impact assessment should be undertaken into the level and nature of charges, into the process of collecting the levy, into what resources the levy might raise and how this money’s spent. We mustn’t see rural businesses suffer without a programme of clear and direct benefit to our countryside communities.”

“The proposal that a Visitor Levy should be discretionary and managed by already overstretched local authorities could lead to chaos and confusion as some authorities adopt a levy and others do not.”

“Wales’ countryside could become a powerhouse for responsible and sustainable economic development. Finding new ways to undermine rural business’ competitiveness is no way to regenerate our rural communities.”