New figures demonstrate dangers of a ‘tax on tourists’ in Wales

Welsh Conservatives have called on the Labour-led Government to withdraw its plans for a devastating ‘Tourism Tax’ after latest figures released today showed there has been an increase of over six per cent in overnight trips to Wales*.

 

The proposal for a ‘tourist tax’ – also backed by Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems – were announced by Labour’s Finance Minister in Tuesday’s draft budget and comes after Plaid agreed a deal to keep the Welsh Labour Government in office for the next two years.

 

Today’s release of the Great Britain Tourism Survey* shows there were 4.24 million overnight trips to Wales from Great Britain between January and June 2017, an increase of 6.3% on the same period in 2016. The amount of spend during this period has also increased to £724 million pounds an increase of 9.5% compared to January to June 2016.

 

Following the release of today’s figures, Shadow Secretary for Economy, Russell George AM, has called on the three parties to immediately pull the proposal, saying it could lead to a huge drop in visitors and tourist spend in Wales.

 

He said:

 

“Today’s figures demonstrate the great work being undertaken by the tourism sector in Wales, progress which would be threatened by a devastating tax proposal put forward by Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems.

 

“A tax on tourists could hammer small firms, discourage people from visiting Wales and make the average family holiday much more expensive – leading to visitors seeking holidays elsewhere. The impact on the industry in Wales, on jobs, small hotels and B&Bs could be shocking.

 

“While Conservatives remove a significant barrier to tourism by abolishing the Severn Bridge tolls, the three left-wing parties want to impose a tax when tourists arrive at their destination. This is completely unacceptable and would undo all of the good work undertaken by businesses across the country.

 

“It’s the job of the Welsh Government to attract people to come and spend money visiting our beautiful country, not fleece them, and I call on the parties to immediately withdraw this proposal.”

 

Notes to editors:

 

*Great Britain Tourism Survey

There were 4.24 million overnight trips to Wales from Great Britain between January and June 2017, an increase of 6.3% on the same period in 2016. The amount of spend during this period has also increased to £724 million pounds an increase of 9.5% compared to January to June 2016.

In the 12 months ending June 2017 the level of trips and spend in Wales was lower than the same period a year previously. This is mainly due to a fall in visits and spend in the latter part of 2016.