A proposed tourism tax that would be charged to people visiting Wales would “benefit the industry,” said the country’s first minister.

The Welsh government has pledged to deliberate on legislation that would allow local authorities to impose such a charge in its five-year plan, released Tuesday.

Mark Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament that the idea of ​​a tourism tax was “rooted” around the world, including places like Bath, Liverpool and Aberdeen.

“It is about giving local authorities in Wales the power and authority to decide for themselves whether a city tax would allow them to continue investing in the circumstances that make these areas attractive to tourism,” Mr said Drakeford.

“I am very clear that a properly implemented tourism tax will benefit the industry because it enables local authorities to invest in things that make these areas attractive to tourists in the first place.

“Right now, it’s the local residents who pay for everything.

“They pay for the toilets, they pay for the parking lots, they pay for the local museum, they pay for the local festival – all that is put there to attract people to the area is the local residents who pay the costs full.

“A city tax levied on people who choose to travel to these areas, when you add it all up, could, in a very modest way, be a significant opportunity for local authorities to invest in the conditions that tourism provides make a success. “

Mr Drakeford said local authorities were “under no obligation” to levy such a tax if they did not want to, and that there were no plans to raise taxes in Wales “while the economy recovers”.

However, critics of the plan say it would be detrimental to the tourism sector in Wales.

Andrew RT Davies, Senedd leader of the Welsh Conservatives, urged families and businesses in the country to get “support, not more taxes”.

“Labor plans to introduce a tourism tax and a potential income tax hike will be devastating to hard-working Welsh people,” he said.

“Tourism is a major employer in Wales, creating hundreds of thousands of much-needed jobs and a tax on vacationers would damage the local economy and cost a living.

“Instead of an economic recovery, at a time when they should do whatever it takes to keep the money in people’s pockets, Labor seems intent on showering Wales with a series of tax increases.”

Ministers should prioritize keeping taxes “as low as possible” to encourage economic growth during the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, added Mr Davies.

In 2018, a report by the trade organization Wales Tourism Alliance said that such a tax would “stifle growth, jobs, revenues and vacation travel” in the country and “hit those who can least afford a vacation”.

Tourism taxes are common in European capitals like Rome and Paris, where visitors pay small fees per person per night of accommodation to preserve and improve the area.

The national government’s risk-based traffic light system for overseas travel means vacationers have been encouraged to choose UK travel destinations this summer, especially since several variants of the virus emerged.

A commitment to consult on legislation that would allow local authorities to collect a city tax has been included in the government program of the Welsh government.

Other plans in the 17-page document are for caregivers in Wales to receive a real living wage, which Mr Drakeford said would recognize the “tremendous contribution” they had made during the pandemic.

It is hoped that in the first half of Senedd’s five-year tenure, workers will begin receiving real living wages – which is £ 9.50 an hour for those outside London.

Mr Drakeford claimed the program following the Welsh Labor election victory in May would make Wales “stronger, greener and fairer”.

Goals include everyone under the age of 25 offering work, education, training or self-employment, 30% of workers working remotely, eliminating the use of single-use plastics, and building 20,000 low-carbon public housing for rent.

Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency that switching to remote work would “bring a number of other benefits,” including limiting the effects of travel on the environment and air pollution.

In response to the government program, Davies said it “did not inspire confidence” while Plaid Cymru vice chair Rhun ap Iorwerth described the plan as “thin in detail and without goals”.