"Tourist Tax" could sink Beaumaris maritime businesses
10 April 2014 |
Read more articles by Tomos Hughes
Stan Zalot and Gareth Williams of Starida. (Photo by Gaynor Thomas)
COMMERCIAL boat operators in Beaumaris are up in arms fearing they could be hit with a maritime “tourist tax”.
Anglesey County Council announced earlier this week that it could impose a 21p levy for each passenger aboard a commercial boat from operators using the pier.
Businesses have reacted angrily to the levy, which will not be applied in other towns, with operator Starida claiming it will leave them “thousands of pounds” out of pocket.
Jason Zalot of Starida said: “You’ve got businesses doing the same in Conwy and Caernarfon and it makes us extremely uncompetitive.
“Compared to cruises elsewhere, we’ve got a massive hurdle. A pleasure boat in Amlwch or Menai Bridge doesn’t have to pay it, but we have to in Beaumaris.
“I find it very, very unfair. We’re quite happy to pay our dues, we understand they need to raise money, but there’s paying your dues and there’s being squeezed.
“It kicks the wind out of our sails.”
The town’s businesses have received the support of the Beaumaris Chamber of Trade and the three Seiriol county councillors, Alwyn Rowlands, Carwyn Jones and Lewis Davies.
Mr Zalot added: “They think Beaumaris, rockstar wages, rockstar prices. It’s wrong and proportionally unfair. With friends like that in the council, who needs enemies?
“They said that Beaumaris is the golden egg for Anglesey’s tourism. They won’t charge this levy anywhere else on Anglesey so that’s why we call it a tourist tax.”
An Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said: “The Isle of Anglesey County Council, like every other local authority in the current financial climate, must consider all available options in terms of income generation.
“There has been significant investment in the refurbishment of Beaumaris Pier and it has also recently been repainted in time for the Easter holidays.
“A passenger levy for commercial operators using Beaumaris Pier was first included in the fees and charges approved by the Council last year.
“However, because of the works to the pier, its introduction was held back for 12 months.
“We are currently in discussions regarding this matter with commercial operators using the pier.
"Nothing has been decided as yet.”
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