Visitor management

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

A few days ago, I wrote about the Welsh government looking at local tourism taxes.

Politicians see tourism as a way of raising easy cash

The Welsh Tourism Alliance, (WTA) unsurprisingly, opposed any such tax.

But in the statement that the WTA issued was the sentence, “Charging visitors more is not the solution to any problems associated with visitor management.”

Yes, visitor management can be significantly altered by the manipulation of charges but that isn’t really why charges are generally introduced despite what some people – principally politicians – claim.

Other answers have to be given to whitewash the real reason just as the introduction of air passenger duty was called an environmental tax.

Primarily these are tax raising or revenue raising ideas designed to remove cash from holidaymakers, travellers and the general public.

Introducing charges doesn’t seem to have had a lasting effect on vehicles venturing into London despite there being a short term drop in vehicle numbers. Politicians just respond by increasing prices to limit numbers entering the charge zones.

That will have an effect at some stage but only when the average person considers that the charging borders on the obscene. Rarely does that limit seem to be reached.

After a while, politicians see the money that is generated is so significant that they can’t do without it. In many stories Just about Travel has pointed out that if the travel industry can show how the treasury can raise the same amount of money or more than APD brings in then the government might remove the tax. Until then, the Travel industry is just whistling in the wind.

The same applies to parking charges at airports and at beauty spots, for dropping-off passengers at some airports like Luton and for paying administration fees on buying and paying for online tickets where you print off the ticket or QR code yourself.

If you really want to manage visitor numbers you will have to be more radical like reducing the number of car parking spaces, ban coaches from getting to close to the attractions, closing public conveniences and generally being less appealing to the visitor.

Some readers might view this as extreme and it is. But if you effectively want to control visitor numbers, destinations might need to be that tough.

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