Leading hoteliers in Wales today welcomed the rejection of broad proposals for a Wales-wide ‘tourism tax’ that could make the industry uncompetitive and add hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to tourist bills.
Since the autumn, a relentless British Hospitality Association (BHA) Cymru media and political campaign has urged Ministers and all Assembly Members to heed the BHA’s economic arguments and drop the damaging tourism tax plans.
Today, Welsh Government officials backed the BHA case and rejected the all-Wales tourism tax plans to favour a Vacant Land Tax, one of a set of four new tax plans that were put forward in the autumn for consideration by Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford.
However, BHA was disappointed to hear that the matter hadn’t been completely dismissed by the Cabinet Secretary, with references made during his speech to the possibility of future discussions on permissive powers for local authorities on the issue.
David Chapman, Executive Director of BHA Cymru, said:
“The industry’s broad message was “don’t top up taxes, chop taxes” and it was listened to by Welsh Government. It saw the need to help our iconic community businesses, already facing a “cauldron of costs”, to boost employment and growth in key rural, coastal and urban locations in Wales.
“The same arguments clearly stand for any further policy discussions, local or national, that may take place on the subject. The Welsh Government has a very good record of working with BHA in partnership in recent years to support the hospitality industry in Wales, showing an increased understanding of the huge economic significance of the industry here and the need to grow it further and not restrict it. We’ll continue to make our case as strongly as we can for our members.
“We also now urge all Assembly Members to sign up to the BHA’s Cut Tourism VAT campaign. We want their help to pressure Westminster to cut Tourism VAT from 20 per cent to single figures to match levels in other European countries and significantly boost the economic performance of the industry, creating and sustaining more local jobs, visitor numbers and enabling local people to enjoy more meals out.”