Rt Hon Simon Hart MP launched Wales Tourism Week with general managers from Cardiff’s hotel sector at a UKH Cymru Business Breakfast held at the Marriott Hotel, Mill Lane, Cardiff. The group discussed the industry’s recovery plans, the current cost crisis and recruitment and skills issues.
Hart believed after two hard years, the sector desperately needed the custom and support from the people of Wales. He continued: “These businesses are struggling to recover and every pound spent in their venues will help to keep them open and protect local jobs.
Backbone of the economy
“Hospitality is the backbone of our economy, our communities and our social life and culture in every part of Wales and I’ve heard today how so many businesses are operating on very fine margins at the moment. So let’s get behind them!”
UKH Cymru executive director David Chapman thanked Hart for his support. “Times are still incredibly hard all over but our Wales Tourism Week message is ‘let’s get through this together’”, he said.
He added: “We have great places to stay, eat and drink in Wales, so please choose Welsh hospitality. With your help, our local businesses can then build back to recovery, employ more local people and increase spend with local suppliers.”
This comes after the Welsh Government came under fire from trade bodies for proposing a Visitor Levy, or tourism tax, for visitors staying overnight in Wales, with individual councils responsible for setting their own rates and terms.
Wrong tax at the wrong time
For Chapman, the industry needed more TLC and less taxes. “After two long years of commercial instability, with enforced closures and restrictions, we are now facing a costs and viability crisis and the last thing we need is even more taxation,” he said.
However, Business Live reported it would be “years” until such a tax was brought in – with one source saying it could be well closer to the end of the current Senedd term of 2026.
“[With] VAT up 7.5 percentage points, national insurance contributions up, business rates back, food inflation soaring and energy costs through the roof, we are barely able to break even,” believed Chapman. “It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time.”