WHAT says welcome to Wales more than a tourism tax?
The Welsh Government has announced it is pressing ahead with plans to introduce a “visitor levy”.
As is the case with all legislation, the devil will be in the detail and it needs to be rubber- stamped by the Senedd. But visitors to Wales will more than likely end up having to pay an additional fee for staying overnight because the policy was included in the co-operation deal between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, which was agreed after the Senedd election in 2021.
I raised concerns when these proposals were first mooted last summer after meeting with Graham Symonds, who started Monmouth Canoe and Activity Centre in 1974 and vies with businesses just a few miles away in England.
He told me how he feared a tax on visitors holidaying in Wales would make the tourism industry less competitive – and make Wales seem more expensive. Add into the mix the fact that the Welsh Labour Government wants to charge motorists for using the M4 near Newport and it’s a real hammer blow.
Tourism supports one in seven jobs in Wales and it is a sector we rely on heavily in Monmouthshire. The industry is still recovering from the Covid pandemic so instead of hitting jobs and businesses with utterly illogical taxes, ministers in Cardiff Bay should be doing more to encourage people to come and visit Wales.
I was thrilled to see The Sunday Times name Abergavenny among the best places to live in Wales. Monmouthshire is known for its endlessly varied and vibrant culinary scene – and Abergavenny is surely one of the jewels in our crown.
A gastronomic haven famous for the annual food festival, a host of excellent restaurants and spectacular mountain scenery, this market town has always been a popular place to call home. It was particularly heartening to read the
judges’ praise for the eagerness of the town’s community to get involved in everything from choirs to litter picks. They were right – there’s something to admire everywhere you turn!
Under the inspirational leadership of Karen Noblet, Monmouth Gymnastics Club has gone from strength-to-strength. My children were part of the club when they were younger and thoroughly enjoyed the classes, which taught them a range of core skills. Recreational gymnastics is a fantastic way to keep young people fit and agile.
The club held an open morning on Saturday to celebrate the children’s work and showcase the sequences they have been learning. Congratulations to all gymnasts, parents and spectators for supporting this wonderful community asset.