“Victimised and confused”: Welsh rural holiday sector in the face of Welsh Government policy

CLA Cymru has written to Welsh Government Ministers expressing grave concern about the damaging impact of Government policy on the rural tourism sector - and asking for urgent clarification about the 182-day occupation level.
Wales: WG Visit Wales tourist accom signs
These signs outside holiday accommodation in Powys last year, have already been removed.

“Four emerging Welsh Government taxes are set to damage the rural tourism industry,” says Nigel Hollett, Director CLA Cymru. “The Visitor Levy, the tax implications of an arbitrary high occupation rate regulation, the inevitably high cost and red-tape of the proposed Statutory Licence and – if holiday accommodation providers turn to the last resort - Land Transaction Tax.

“I have written to Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, requesting a meeting to bring her attention to the damage Government policy is likely to make, and to stress that targeting Wales’s cherished countryside tourism industry will not solve a housing crisis which needs investment, less regulation and reform of the planning regime.”

“The 182 day occupation rate will thrust many properties from Business Rates into Council Tax at premium levels."

Because they brought-in the legislation two months after holiday lets owners are expected to start counting their 182 days of actual occupancy, accommodation providers appear to have just ten months this year to meet the demanding 182-days per year occupation level.

Nigel Hollett, CLA Cymru Director

“The 182-day threshold is unworkable for most seasonal holiday lets, and is unrealistic for larger properties which fulfil the families and groups market. Made redundant by the regulations, those larger properties (many of them farm-houses), are unlikely to be sold since they form key parts of a farm business capital assets – and most will be unsuitable in size, nature and location to become affordable homes.”

“Tourism is a vital part of the Welsh rural economy. Farms have been encouraged or forced to diversify, and the Welsh Government itself has spent millions on a sector which now contributes around £6.3 billion to the economy. Our visitors spend about £17 million per day in attractions, pubs, restaurants and shops. Wales’s tourism industry will become increasingly focused on day-visitors who spend less and generate more challenges in rural communities.”

Nigel Hollett says, “The tourism sector plays a vital part in our rural economy – often an important revenue stream for marginal farm businesses. The Welsh Government must understand the impact of its policies on rural communities.”