THE process of devolution continues with pace with the Welsh Assembly soon to be able to levy new taxes in Wales.

Of course, we have already had some taste of tax raising powers with the Land Transaction Tax and the Landfill Tax, but these were only replacements for taxes that had been previously set at a UK level.

Now the Welsh Government is keen to move onto to raising new, Welsh specific taxes and the idea they have struck on is a tourism tax. I have to admit I am rather alarmed by such a prospect. Tourism is vital to both our local economy and to the Welsh economy more widely, but it is also a fiercely competitive industry.

We are competing with the other nations and regions of the United Kingdom to attract “staycationers”, those who do not travel abroad for their holidays either through choice or cost. Levying a tourist tax would make other places in the UK a more cost attractive proposition than holidaying in Wales.

Even if they are set on visiting our great local attractions and environments in south east Wales, it would make very little sense for them to stay in any local accommodation. There is an abundance of holiday accommodation just over the border in England which would not be subject to the tourist tax and therefore cheaper and not that much more distant from our tourist hotspots.

It is not just those who work in accommodating tourists who have to worry about this though. Most tourists do not venture far from where they are staying when eating or drinking out.

This could be hugely harmful to the customer flow for our many restaurants and pubs in the region which rely on tourism income to stay in business.

The Welsh Government say the money raised from the tax will be reinvested into infrastructure to support our tourism industry and that this will lead to a boost for our tourism sector. I worry that this is a woefully naïve view of how the economy works and that this tax will drive many businesses to the wall before we hear or see any such investment.

The Welsh Government’s tourism tax would be disaster for our region and a disaster for Wales and I and the rest of the Welsh Conservative group will be firm in opposing it.