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‘Welsh Tourist Tax’ Objection Outlined to MPs on Welsh Affairs Committee

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The Welsh Affairs Committee in Westminster has been examining tourism in Wales and Stephen Davies, chief executive of Penderyn Distillery, Sean Taylor, founder and president of the Zip World attractions and Paul Lewis, general manager of Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways gave evidence along with others.

Stephen Davies, the CEO of Penderyn Distillery (The Welsh Whisky Company) named Wales Business of the Year 2022 at the Chamber Awards last week, welcomes visitors to its distilleries in the Brecon Beacons and Llandudno.

Mr. Davies shared concerns around travel problems with big events in Cardiff saying that

“people will not come back if they have that bad experience, they'll think twice”.

Sean Taylor of Zip World told the committee other countries had lower rates of sales tax.

And Paul Lewis, general manager of Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways said he feared a specific tax would deter potential customers:

I'd rather quietly have a slightly higher level of VAT – not more than twenty per cent – I'd rather see it dealt with through VAT rather than an obvious, different tax, which would just turn away customers overnight.

VAT is determined, and collected, by the Westminster Treasury while a consultation on draft proposals for a tourist tax or levy is due to be launched by the Welsh Government in the autumn.

The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, and the cooperation agreement between it and Plaid Cymru, both contain commitments to introduce levies.