The Senedd has roundly rejected Conservative calls to ditch plans for a tourism tax.

Laura Anne Jones led a debate on the Welsh Government’s plans to roll out a visitor levy – a small fee for visitors staying overnight in tourism accommodation – from 2027.

The MS warned the tax could make people think twice about holidaying in Wales, which would have a significant impact on tourism and hospitality businesses.

Ms Jones also raised concerns about the threshold for self-catering properties to qualify for business rates increasing from 70 to 182 days.

Calling for a reduction to 105 days, she warned the target has been difficult to achieve for many self-catering businesses, leaving owners at risk of 300 per cent council tax premiums.

Ms Jones argued Visit Wales should be made independent of the Welsh Government.

She also told the chamber a tourism barometer published in February showed visitor numbers in decline since 2022.

She accused the Welsh Government of “attacking” the tourism sector, saying ministers have nothing to offer besides empty words and ill-thought-out policies.

Luke Fletcher, for Plaid Cymru, stressed the importance of sustainability, raising concerns about communities becoming ghost towns in off-seasons.

Mr Fletcher argued a small levy would not deter visitors, raising Barcelona as an example, and he called for any money raised to be ring fenced for tourism.

He suggested a tourism levy will be rolled out elsewhere in the UK, with Manchester having brought in a £1-a-night charge which raised about £2.8m in its first year.

Peter Fox said tourism businesses in his Monmouth constituency, which are separated by mere miles from competitors in England, want a level playing field across the border.

Mr Fox, who led Monmouth council for more than a decade, said local authorities will use revenue raised by a tourism tax to meet other pressures such as social care and health.

“That's what will happen, guaranteed,” he told the Senedd.

Plaid Cymru's Cefin Campbell said tourist levies are commonplace around the world, pointing to Croatia, Greece, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and the Caribbean.

Responding to the debate on 22 May, Jeremy Miles said the best way to protect the sector is to ask visitors to make a very modest contribution to the costs of tourism and accused the Tories of running Wales down.

MSs voted 13-33 against the Tory motion, with Plaid Cymru’s amendments also falling. The motion as amended by the Welsh Government was agreed, 24-22.