CLA Cymru responds to the launch of the Welsh Government’s “Brilliant Basics” fund for tourism.
“The Welsh Government’s “Brilliant Basics” £5 million tourism fund will do little to restore confidence of rural providers of holiday accommodation in the light of a visitor levy, a statutory licence and challenging tax thresholds,” says CLA Cymru Director, Nigel Hollett.
Launched on Monday (12 February) the Brilliant Basics fund will fund small-scale tourism infrastructure improvements such as toilet and changing-places, car parks, electric vehicle charging-points, improved signage and interpretation panels and some infrastructure.
“However the Welsh Government needs to do a great deal more to support rural holiday accommodation providers. We need a rural targeting strategy which encourages more visitors to stay-over in Wales – these tourists contribute far more to the rural economy than day-visitors.”
A directly-delivered strategy of support for the sector to attract visitors, reduce costs and regulation and encourage investment into rural tourism is urgently needed
CLA Cymru and other key organisations representing the rural tourism sector have written to the Welsh Government Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans MS, warning that her government’s policies will damage their industry. The Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA,) Welsh representatives of UK Hospitality and the Professional Association of Self Caterers UK (PASC) joined together in the letter calling for a review of the proposals.
“Most rural holiday accommodation providers are marginal businesses running on relatively low occupation-rates. Conditions in Wales mean that many will struggle to achieve the high target of 182 days’ occupation. Many are farm diversifications whose season is often limited to the high summer or which may be closed to make way for agricultural business activities,” Nigel Hollett says.
“The challenging policy towards the tourism sector is driven by the Welsh Government’s commitment to increase housing stock by targeting second-homes. However many rural holiday lets cannot be converted into residential use owing to planning constraints or the nature of these properties. Often they are located within farm buildings, they may be multiple, small units with limited or seasonal access and may have limited facilities. The letter calls for exemptions for these kinds of properties: the proposals are likely unnecessarily to reduce Wales’ tourist capacity and fail to improve availability of affordable homes.”