Welsh ‘Bully boy’ ministers banned from running tourist attraction

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Dinosaur sculptures in Dan an Ogof. Nilfanion’s photo is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

One of Wales’ oldest family attractions has banned Welsh Government ministers in protest at proposed changes to the rules governing self-catering holiday accommodation and plans to introduce a visitor’s tax.

Ministers have been told they are not welcome at ‘Dan Yr Ogof’ – The National Showcaves Center for Wales and a sign is displayed in the window of the caves ticket office accusing government tourism policies of being responsible of the ban.

The Welsh Government is proposing to give councils the power to add a levy on overnight stays in their part of the country – saying it can ease pressure on tourist communities and help pay for additional services – but says the introduction of ‘a tax is ‘years’ a way.

New measures are also being introduced to determine whether operators of independent holiday accommodation can benefit from business rate relief.

Under the proposals, the number of days an independent business must be open will increase to 252 days per year (an increase of 80%). The property will then have to be rented for 182 days, an increase of 150%.

At present, to be classed as a business in Wales, gite operators must be open for holiday bookings for 140 days a year and their properties must be let 70 days a year.

Surveys by the Wales Tourism Alliance suggest that only independents in Wales will be able to reach that figure, potentially forcing closures and causing layoffs.

prime ministers

Ashford Price, Chairman of Dan Yr Ogof said: I had the pleasure of meeting two First Ministers of Wales at the Cellars.

“The late Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones on more than one occasion and they were always genuinely interested in tourism.

“However, the current Welsh Government, with its anti-tourism policies, namely the 182-day rule, the proposed tourist tax and the planned changes to the main summer holidays, clearly shows that it does not understand or care that his actions are decimating seasonal tourism businesses. in Wales.

“Thirty per cent of independent businesses are set to close, resulting in the loss of 1,400 Welsh jobs.

“Is it any wonder that some Welsh tourism operators are now withholding any future investment in Wales?

“With the resulting job losses, soon the only area of ​​growth in Welsh tourism will be the growth of redundant tour operators claiming ‘benefits’.

“The Welsh Government has used ‘bullying’ tactics to bulldoze these new laws, ignoring opposition to tourism and leading experts advising against these new proposals.

“For the Welsh Government to take these steps, particularly during a cost of living crisis, and a recession starting this autumn which the Bank of England expects will last over a year and with inflation reaching 13% l next year is complete economic madness!

“80% of all visitors to Wales are English and many of these political news will be viewed as un-English by the English media.

“Wales will pay a heavy price if our main tourist market refuses to pay the proposed tourist tax, and votes with its feet and goes elsewhere.”

“In a recession, people will be looking for ‘cheap vacations,’ not vacation regions where you pay a tax to visit.”

Housing tax

Alongside the rate relief changes, from next year Councils in Wales will have the power to charge up to 300% additional council tax on self-employed businesses who fail to let their properties for 182 days.

There are around 8,000 freestanding properties in Wales, generating around £134m each year for the Welsh economy and supporting around 4,700 jobs.

The Welsh Government said their changes would prevent second home owners from classifying homes as businesses because they are rented out for a fifth of the year.

“As part of the co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru, we are committed to taking immediate action to address the impact of second homes and unaffordable housing in communities across Wales, using the planning systems , ownership and taxation,” said Economy Minister Rebecca Evans. .

“As we continue to advance the set of measures and build on the latest evidence, we will continuously monitor the set of levers available to use and how they can be most effectively deployed to achieve our goals. policies and avoid any unintended consequences.”

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Keith P. Plain