BHA claims success after Government rejects Wales-wide tourism tax plans

The tourism tax was abandoned with plans to favour a ‘Vacant Land Tax’ as an alternative

Hoteliers in Wales have welcomed the rejection of broad proposals for a Wales-wide ‘tourism tax’.

Since the autumn, a British Hospitality Association (BHA) Cymru media and political campaign has urged ministers and all assembly members to drop the tourism tax plans as they believed it would have made the industry uncompetitive and added hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to tourist bills.

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, the matter has not 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. 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 % 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.”

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