Welsh Labour's proposed tourism tax would devastate Wales's tourism industry, claims the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

Andrew RT Davies AM told Blasting News Labour's plans would be punitive and leave Wales at a complete disadvantage with the rest of the UK, encouraging potential visitors to go across the border instead.

The tourism tax is one of four potential new taxes being considered by Welsh ministers, who will decide in 2018 if they can ask UK ministers if they can introduce such a tax.

The Welsh Conservatives recently held a debate in the Welsh Assembly calling on the Welsh Government not to implement the tax.

It was voted down by Labour, Plaid Cymru and the only Liberal Democrat AM who sits in the Cabinet.

"The power to propose new taxes is an important one"

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "The power to propose new taxes is an important one, which we can use to deliver improvements for our communities. In July, we started a national debate asking people to put forward ideas for potential new tax ideas and received a large number of responses.

"In our draft budget, we shortlisted four ideas for further work, one of which was a possible tourism tax. We have taken an open and inclusive approach to tax policy making, working closely with stakeholders and sectors and will continue to do so.

"We are keen to achieve a balanced view as we test our new powers and over the coming months will develop and refine all four ideas further.

We will then propose one new Welsh tax to the UK Government early next year and consult extensively after a decision has been made."

Mr. RT Davies AM hit back against these claims, saying the proposed tax would make the average holiday in Wales much more expensive.

"They failed to stand up for tourism providers across Wales"

He added: "It is the job of the Welsh Government to attract people to come and spend money in our beautiful country- not to meet them at the airport and fleece them.

"Welsh Conservatives therefore held a debate in the Welsh Assembly calling on the Welsh Government to scrap the plans- but Labour, Plaid and the Lib Dems voted against. In doing so, they all failed to stand up for tourism providers across Wales, including the smallest hotels and B&Bs.

"We will continue to fight these dangerous plans for one of the most regressive and punitive proposals ever put forward by a Welsh Labour administration."

Joshua Chohan, the Conservative candidate for St.

Christopher's, Chepstow, during last year's local elections, said: "The tourism industry in Wales is vital to the Welsh economy and the Welsh Government should be protecting it, not hampering it."

The Bevan Foundation in Wales has come out in favour of the proposal, saying it is only fair that those who add to the economic consequences of tourism, like traffic congestion and carbon emissions, should give a little extra to add to the costs to the public purse.

"The proposed tax would increase tourism"

They claim the reality of the tourism tax would result in people paying an extra £4 per person during their week away in Wales. The Bevan Foundation said the proposed tax would increase tourism and drive up the value of the industry.

Businesses and industry leaders have joined the Welsh Conservatives' proposal to scrap the tax altogether.

Thomas Scarrott, owns Gondre Holiday Park, near Clynderwen on the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire border, is one of seven holiday parks owned by Vale Holiday Parks, a family business based in Aberystwyth.

Mr. Scarrott warned the Welsh Government tourists would have to pay more money and it would have an adverse knock-on effect on other small businesses, such as pubs, shops, cafes and visitor attractions.

He warned the Welsh Government businesses need more consultation on the matter and ministers' proposals on the tourism tax are vague.

Anthony Rosser, chair of the British Hospitality Association in Wales, told the Shropshire Star such a tax would give an unfair advantage to businesses in England.