The Visitor Levy

1. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Cabinet Office – in the Senedd at on 17 April 2024.

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Photo of Altaf Hussain Altaf Hussain Conservative

(Translated)

2. What recent assessment has the Cabinet Secretary made of the impact of the visitor levy on Welsh businesses? OQ60918

Photo of Rebecca Evans Rebecca Evans Labour 1:35, 17 April 2024

We are proceeding with legislative proposals for the visitor levy. A regulatory impact assessment will be presented alongside draft legislation in the autumn. The impact assessment will outline the estimated costs and benefits from use of a visitor levy in Wales. Development of legislation and supporting impact assessments are ongoing.

Photo of Altaf Hussain Altaf Hussain Conservative

Thank you for your answer, Cabinet Secretary, however, I have to disagree. Sadly, the visitor levy will have a dramatic impact on the sector, which is already struggling under the increasing red tape, and a sector that has already had a terrible start to the tourist season thanks to the recent storms. With Easter being a total washout, many businesses are struggling, having lost one of their most lucrative weekends in the season, and are now facing a huge hike in business rates. Many in the sector are warning of gloomy prospects, the impending visitor levy only adding to the pressures on the sector. Therefore, Cabinet Secretary, will you now abandon the plan in order to bolster the tourism industry in Wales?

Photo of Rebecca Evans Rebecca Evans Labour 1:36, 17 April 2024

Just to be clear, the visitor levy is not going to have any immediate impact on visitors who come to Wales or on the visitor sector. The earliest any local authority could decide to implement a visitor levy within their area would be 2027. So, there's absolutely no suggestion that any of these decisions will be taken immediately by those local authorities, because we do have the whole legislative process to go through. I do think it's important that we properly understand the potential impacts of a visitor levy, and that's why we've commissioned a significant amount of research in this area, and we'll be publishing more detail of that alongside the legislation, when that is published in due course. But we have had some really good research done by Bangor University, and that looks at the ways in which visitor levies are being implemented in overseas destinations and considers what potential we could read across to here in Wales to help us inform our thinking. And then, also, we've recently had a piece of work undertaken by Cardiff University, and that looks at the possible effects of a visitor levy on the economy and on the environment here in Wales, and, again, that will be something that we'll be publishing alongside the legislation in due course.