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Exciting new vision for Welsh visitor economy

FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford and Deputy Minister for Tourism Lord Elis-Thomas will today unveil an exciting future for the visitor economy in Wales.

The Welsh Government will publish its five-year plan to grow the visitor economy, focusing on Wales’ strengths – its landscapes, culture and places.

The new plan – Welcome to Wales: Priorities for the Visitor Economy 2020-25 – will be backed by two funds to support the industry: A new £10m fund – Brilliant Basics to support the all-important tourism infrastructure which will complement the £50m Wales Tourism Investment Fund focusing on high-quality, reputation-changing products.

Welcome to Wales and the new funding will help to tackle some of the main challenges facing the tourism industry in Wales – seasonality, spend and spread.

Launching the new vision today in Porthcawl, First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Over the past decade, tourism in Wales has been transformed, but there’s room for further growth in our visitor economy and we want to support that.

“Our new plan, with its priorities, strike the right balance between economic growth and our wider wellbeing as a country. We want to develop high-quality, year-round experiences, which are good for visitors and host communities. Sustainable growth can deliver health, environmental and cultural benefits by protecting and promoting our strengths.

“There are challenges facing the industry, including from Brexit. We believe the best response is to continue with our core business – to recognise tourism’s ongoing potential to act as a bedrock for the Welsh economy in projecting a positive message of and from Wales.”

Welcome to Wales highlights two main ideas of ‘Bro’ and ‘Byd’ – getting tourism right at a local level and ensuring the Welsh tourism offer can compete on the international stage.

The main actions over the next five years include:

A £10m fund to invest in Brilliant Basics to support the all-important tourism infrastructure, which is part of delivering a high quality visitor experience from 2020-25.
A focus on high quality, reputation-changing products. A £50m Wales Tourism Investment Fund – delivered in partnership with the Development Bank of Wales – to help finance reputation capital investment projects.
Building on the success of the Events strategy, Event Wales will be set up to develop, grow and attract cultural, business and sporting events. This recognises the vital all-year role events play in attracting people to Wales.
Visit Wales will focus on products and on developing experiences, which reflect Wales’ stand-out strengths as a country.
Visit Wales will focus more of marketing efforts on growing off-peak tourism, encouraging people to spend more in Wales and spread the benefit of tourism.
Two new themed years will be announced for 2022 and 2024.

Nearly one in 10 people across Wales works in tourism, which brings jobs to people throughout Wales. Tourism is on track to meet the 10% growth target set seven years ago – Wales has welcomed record numbers of UK visitors over the last five years and the value of domestic tourism grew by 14% last year.

Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture Sport and Tourism, said:

“We want to build on our recent success and by 2025 we want to be known as a place that offers world-leading adventure, creative culture and language and outstanding, protected landscapes – and a place that wants to look after them for future generations.

“I’d like to thank the industry for the part it has played in developing this new plan and its priorities.

“It has been very clear that the long-term growth of our own sector relies on caring for the things that attract people here in the first place. It is also what future markets will expect.”

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