UK Hospitality Cymru has responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation on the implementation of a discretionary visitor levy, calling for the proposal to be dropped due to the irreparable damage it would cause businesses in the sector.

UK Hospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls said: “We strongly oppose the introduction of a discretionary visitor levy in Wales, particularly at a time when the hospitality industry is facing a troubling combination of soaring costs and staff shortages. The added burden in administrative costs, time and likely impact on visitor numbers and spend, could prove to be the final straw for some businesses that are the heartbeat of many local communities and the lifeblood of our highstreets. Put simply, this is the wrong tax at the wrong time.”

In its submission to the Welsh Government, the leading hospitality trade body highlighted the significant contribution overnight visitors make to local economies in Wales and requested that a detailed, independent Economic Impact Assessment be carried out in order that the full consequences of implementing such a levy be comprehensively explored.

UK Hospitality Executive Director for Wales, David Chapman, added: “It is clear to us that any levy will make Wales uncompetitive compared to other international travel destinations, as in European nations where such a levy is in operation, hospitality business are subject to fewer taxes and a lower rate of VAT. Should any visitor levy be introduced in Wales, the money must be ring fenced and operators given full sight and control over where the funds are spent.”

The Welsh Government’s proposed levy differs greatly from the recently announced Manchester Accommodation Business Improvement district (ABID) initiative. This voluntary, collaborative scheme gives operators full sight and control over the use of funds raised from a one pound guest surcharge that will be used solely to reinvest back into the sector.