A Welsh Government minister gave an upbeat message as he pledged to work with businesses to ensure the future growth of the tourism industry in Mid Wales.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates made the pledge when addressing the Mid Wales Tourism and Business Conference at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells during Welsh Tourism Week.
The annual conference, which had as its theme ‘Boosting the bottom line’, was organised by MWT, an independent organisation representing around 600 tourism businesses in Mid and South Wales.
“Mid Wales provides us with a wide range of rich heritage, landscapes, activities and distinctive tourism destinations to proactively promote and market through our Visit Wales website,” he told the 100 delegates.
“I look forward to working with you to support the development of destination management in
Wales and ensure that Mid Wales plays an important part to the Welsh visitor experience.
“With tourism, Cadw and culture now in the same portfolio, there are great opportunities to forge stronger working links across these areas which together clearly have a significant influence and role to play in making Mid Wales a place that people want to visit and return to.
He said the Welsh Government had been working to make faith tourism more a part of the visitor experience, referring to the ‘Peaceful Places Trail’ in North Ceredigion which has brought together 17 places of worship.
“We will be looking to locate and work with iconic, high quality, reputation-changing products and events with a focus on more luxury and branded hotels, more well-being facilities such as spas, more heritage hotels that utilise historic and distinctive buildings, more all year round attractions, activities and cultural experiences,” he added.
He told delegates to expect an exciting major announcement within the next 10 days about future tourism strategy in Wales.
He went on to answer questions about tourism advertising expenditure, business rate and VAT reviews and the availability of Jobs Growth Wales funding to support recruitment.
Anne Lloyd-Jones, MWT’s chairman, said the conference was designed to help businesses focus on ways of saving money, whilst at the same time enhancing customer experience and branding.
“Partnership working at all levels has never been more important to ensure that ever decreasing resources are spent wisely on tourism,” she added.
Justin Baird-Murray, managing director of the Metropole Hotel and chairman of the British Hospitality Association, called on the Welsh Government to reduce VAT for the tourism industry in Wales to allow businesses to compete fairly with Ireland and France.
Adrian Greason-Walker, the Wales Tourism Alliance’s executive director, emphasised the importance of tourism businesses engaging with politicians at all levels, while Phil Raynsford, executive director of People 1st in Wales, highlighted the importance of tourism operators understanding and “wowing” their customers.
Anthony Rosser, general manager of Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, praised the local community for working together to host the Samworth Brothers Charity Challenge, a biannual triathlon involving 400 people in June while John Rickerby spoke about the work of Natural Mid Wales, which supports wildlife tourism in the region.
Other speakers included Adam Evans and Rowan Jones from Business Wales, Andrew Winning from My EChef and Amanda Chadwick from Peninsula Business Services.