The Welsh tourism industry could be on the brink of a meltdown following the Welsh government’s decision to increase the number of days that holiday cottages must to be let out to visitors, it has been claimed.

Every Welsh holiday home currently has to be let for 70 days before it becomes eligible for business tax instead of council tax, however following a consultation period, the Welsh government this week confirmed that between April 2022 and April 2023, each property must secure a minimum of 182 days a year.

But holiday cottage operators fear this could prove the nail in their commercial coffin.

”This is going to target the tourism industry like we’ve never seen before,” said Elizabeth Marshall who has been operating a successful holiday cottage business for the last six years.


“We’re currently having an extremely good year with 147 days bookings made between April and December, but these new figures mean we now have to find an additional six weeks’ worth of bookings between January and March to reach the target. That’s impossible.”

Elizabeth went on to say that the problem will be exacerbated if local authorities choose to increase their council taxes.

“It’s already been increased by 25 per cent in Ceredigion and 100 per cent in Pembrokeshire.  And if it increases any further, we simply can’t afford it.  It just wouldn’t equate.

“So the chances are, we’re going to have to sell. What the Welsh government needs to realise is that if this happens, the properties will in all likelihood be bought by people from across the English border as second homes as the prices will be beyond affordability for local people."

Another vociferous opponent is Ashford Price, chairman of one of Wales’s premier tourist attractions, the National Showcaves in Carmarthenshire.

“The Welsh government doesn’t seem to realise that it’s proposing to self-inflict a considerable wound on Welsh tourism,” he said.

“Tourism is Wales’s second largest industry and tourists spend on average £8m a day in Wales, while a quarter of all VAT registered businesses are in the visitor economy.

"This means that Wales has much to lose as a result of what’s being implemented. Surely we need to encourage tourists to come to Wales, not keep them away.”

A recent survey by the Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) found that 84 per cent of self-catering operators in Wales believe they won't be able to continue their business if the new lettings laws are introduced.