The Welsh Government has today confirmed that plans for a visitor levy in the country are to be put in place, with legislation that gives local authorities the power to benefit from visitors being put in place.
With the aim of getting tourists to contribute to local communities and support maintenance and investment, the levy would allow authorities to introduce a small charge to be paid by those staying in commercially-let visitor accommodation. This move has been supported through a public consultation that saw the majority of respondents in favour of the principle.
Business, local authorities and members of the wider public gave their feedback and many from local authorities and[JD1] other such organisations did agree with the idea of the levy, however there were some who disagreed. These disagreements mainly came from representatives of the tourism industry.
Alongside the consultation, consumer research also found that:
- Of those surveyed, 58% agreed that there should be a contribution from tourists to help maintain and invest in the destinations that they visit, however this opinion did rise in areas where there is a considerable amount of tourism.
- The areas that attract the most tourists tended to show stronger support for the levy, with two-thirds of Welsh people that [JD2] reported themselves as living in areas of high tourism supporting the introduction of the levy.
- When the idea of a visitor levy was introduced, respondents were more positive than they were negative. 45% of respondents were positive, in comparison with 25% that were negative, and as before, positivity towards the levy increased amongst those who live in areas that see large amounts of tourism
Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans – who has previously featured in the PSE Magazine, said:
“As the Easter break approaches and many parts of Wales prepare to welcome visitors from around the world, it’s more important than ever that we look to create a sustainable tourism sector that also supports local communities. Over the coming years, we will continue work with businesses, local government and all our partners to design a levy that will put power into the hands of local communities.
“We understand some businesses have reservations about a visitor levy and I am grateful to all those who took the time to respond to our consultation. These responses will be carefully considered as we continue to develop our specific plans for a levy. Many destinations around the world use visitor levies to empower and enhance their local areas for the benefit of visitors and locals alike – I am confident this will be the case here in Wales.”
The proposals have been brought along with the Welsh Government’s co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru. Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Designated Member, said:
“We want Wales to have a thriving, sustainable tourism sector and the visitor levy will play a part in achieving this. Our aim is to develop responsible tourism that works both for visitors and for the communities they are visiting. Local authorities will be able to introduce a small contribution from visitors enjoying their area to help develop and protect local services and infrastructure.”
The idea of a visitor levy is not something that has never been before, with more than 40 popular destinations around the world introducing them. These include places such as Greece, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Catalonia.