Welsh government to press ahead with visitor levy plan


The Welsh government is to press ahead with plans for a visitor levy on tourists who stay in the country overnight.

Legislation allowing local authorities to introduce a levy will be put to the Senedd, the Welsh parliament, within this government’s term. Some tourism organisations have criticised the plan, calling it a misguided “bed tax” that risks discouraging people from visiting.

The Labour-led Welsh government conceded that many representatives of the tourism industry had objected but said charges were commonplace around the world, used in more than 40 destinations including Greece, Catalonia and Amsterdam.

Rebecca Evans, the minister for finance and local government, said on Wednesday: “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.

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.”

Proposals for a visitor levy have been progressed through the Welsh government’s cooperation agreement with Plaid Cymru. Cefin Campbell, a Plaid Cymru Senedd member for mid and west Wales, said: “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 Wales Tourism Alliance has expressed concern over the plans. It said: “Business balance sheets have been decimated by Covid and the energy, cost of living crises and labour market issues. This is the wrong time to risk any form of further taxation or negativity around the sector that will affect consumer confidence.”