‘Waste of time’ Jeremy Vine caller slams Wales tourism tax as threat to UK economy

Wales tourist tax is 'bad for the environment' says Vine caller

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A draft proposal of the Welsh tourism levy is set to be formally consulted in Autumn of this year but local residents have slammed the move for discouraging English tourists, which account for around 80 percent of visitors. But Welsh authorities have claimed the tax would “raise revenue for local authorities” to manage the infrastructure vital to the holiday sector, adding that it would “encourage a more sustainable approach to tourism”. 

Denise, from Berkshire, questioned why the tourist tax was being put in place due to concerns over the environment if the result would be more people using planes to fly abroad. 

She told Jeremy Vine on 5: “I think going to the prices with the tax for Wales, more and more people are actually going to leave the country and go abroad. 

“So I think if you’re talking about this and the environment, I don’t think it’s going to do the environment any good because more and more people are going to leave the country. 

“They will fly, go by boat, drive, so I think it’s just going to be a complete waste of time because it will just drive the tourists into other countries.” 

The chair of the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (WAVA) slammed the move as “unfathomable”, accusing the Government of an “anti-English” agenda. 

He claimed that the levy would have an adverse effect on Welsh tourism businesses that are “already struggling” after two years of reduced travel due to the pandemic. 

He said: “It’s unfathomable that the Welsh government is even considering this at a time when so many Welsh tourism businesses are struggling from the effects of the pandemic and the massive rise in energy and fuel costs.

“If the proposal is accepted, how many of our potential customers will simply vote with their feet and go to Devon, Ireland or Scotland?”

The relatively low number of tourists visiting Wales compared with countries abroad has also been cited as a reason to prevent the levy. 

Residents fear that the tax will further exacerbate the disparity, wreaking havoc on the Welsh tourism economy. 

While France boasts an average of 433 million tourists staying overnight, and Spain recorded 471 million people, Wales played host to a mere 34 million. 

Price added: “Surely these people should be encouraged for coming to Wales, not taxed for doing so

And one wonders how this tax will benefit tourism?”

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But Rebecca Evans, Welsh minister for finance and local government, defended the levy, arguing it would allow the country to be “enjoyed for generations to come”. 

She said: Visitor levies are a common feature in tourist destinations internationally. They are an opportunity for visitors to make an investment in local infrastructure and services, which in turn make tourism a success. 

“Without such a levy, local communities face an undue burden to fund local services and provisions on which tourists rely. 

“The introduction and subsequent use of such a levy would enable destinations in Wales to be enjoyed for generations to come and encourage a more sustainable approach to tourism.

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