Tourism tax needed says leading councillor
Tourists in Conwy will have to start paying an extra tax if the council is to carry on investing in the industry, a top councillor has said.
Members of Conwy’s finance committee meeting on Monday at Bodlondeb will discuss the implications of having a tourism tax.
Two years ago, the Welsh Government looked at bringing in a tourism tax but opted not to introduce one after 63% of the tourism sector opposed the idea.
However, several destinations including Bath and Edinburgh are considering bringing in some type of levy for visitors.
A report to the committee said: “At a time when local authority budgets are under such pressure, many councils are looking at new opportunities to generate income to support infrastructure and services.
“One potential new income stream could be a tourism tax.”
The report said there were a number of questions that needed answering, such as who a levy would be applied to, how much it would be and how the levy would be collected.
The report added that there is strong opposition locally from the industry.
It said: “The tourism sector in Conwy County has been consulted for the purposes of this paper.
“The feedback shows that they are opposed to a tourism tax, largely because of the taxation context in which they operate.
“Tourism businesses fear that any further taxation on their sector will make them non-competitive, threaten their sustainability and reduce businesses’ ability to invest in product development.”
But the report said the council’s investment in events could be threatened if new funding was not found.
Cllr Goronwy Edwards, the cabinet member for economic development, said:
“I believe that in order for Conwy Council to be able to sustain the level of investment in the tourism and events sector as we have traditionally, a levy of some form will need to be introduced to continue such support for the much valued tourism industry, to avoid increasing the burden on residential tax payers.”
By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter
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