Our country is a truly remarkable one. With stunning natural and historic environments, it’s no wonder that tourism plays such a huge part in the Welsh economy, generating £6.2 billion in visitor expenditure every year.
But this is not without challenges. There is an ongoing need to protect these special places from human impacts to help ensure that people want to return again and again.
Welsh Government has now launched a consultation on plans to introduce a Visitor Levy to help maintain and restore tourist destinations.
We realise this is a hot topic and we want to ensure the community groups, businesses, and organisations we work with are part of the conversation.
A visitor levy would be a new local tax designed in a way that works for local communities, businesses, and visitors to Wales (Welsh Government, September 2022).
Visitor levies are a common in tourist destinations around the world, although the methods and costs vary between areas and countries.
Evidence from other destinations with visitor levies suggest this is best done through highly transparent means where the funding is clearly ringfenced for nature conservation and regenerative purposes.
From our extensive research into tourism litter, we know that a poorly maintained environment has far reaching impacts and can affect how visitors feel about a place, our local economies, as well as our resident communities and our wildlife.
We need to find new ways to invest in nature and our communities so that Wales can continue to be a beautiful destination that visitors want to return to again and again. Currently, our local councils and National Park Authorities, supported by many hundreds of volunteers, are struggling to cope with the additional demands of an often-unpredictable influx of visitors, especially when it comes to littering, waste management and public facilities.
We believe a Visitor Levy could be designed in such a way to support this resource gap, help ease the pressures in tourism hotspots and provide an opportunity for visitors to play their part in caring for our precious environment.
Based on the success of similar initiatives around the world, we believe a visitor levy in Wales could ease the strain on local communities by ensuring visitors play their part in looking after our precious environment.
We will be publishing our full tourism litter report in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can download our summary below to get a snapshot the issue.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be encouraging the groups, businesses and organisations we work with to get involved in the consultation. We want everyone’s voices to be heard.
The deadline for responses is 13 December 2022. You can submit your comments online, via email or post. There are also a series of consultation events taking place across the country. Visit the Welsh Government website for all the details.
Visit the Welsh Government website