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THE prices of Santa’s Toy Mine Experience and Boxing Day and New Year’s Day swims are going up this year in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The Santa’s Toy Mine Experience at A Welsh Coal Mining Experience in  Rhondda Heritage Park and the seasonal Boxing Day and New Year’s Day swims at Pontypridd’s Lido are set to go up due to increased costs and so the same level of service can be provided, the council said.

The charges for Santa’s Toy Mine Experience will go up from £10 to £11 for children and adults, from £8 to £8.50 for a school visit, from £4 to £4.50 for a teacher on a school visit and from nothing to £3 for those under 18 months.

It has around 15,000 visitors a year with the income contributing to the cost of putting it on and maintenance of the other attractions at A Welsh Coal Mining Experience.

A delegated decision report from council officers said that due to the pandemic, the event has operated at reduced capacity for the past two years but this year the council intends to start the process of gradually increasing capacity and the content of the event towards pre-pandemic levels with 25 people per tour this year as opposed to 20 last year.

Prices for the Santa’s Toy Mine Experience were kept at the same level between 2019 and 2021 and were frozen for 2022 as part of the 2022/23 budget.

But the report said that since then there have been significant increases in supplier costs, in particular the costs associated with purchasing gifts and the specialist staffing agencies that supply the Santa Claus.

Because of this, the council said it is necessary to propose a small price
increase that addresses the increased supply costs, whilst ensuring that the event “continues to deliver a quality visitor experience and at an entry fee that will ensure it remains one of the lowest priced attractions in the region.”

The prices of the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day swims will stay free of charge for under fives but will go up from £5 to £6 for everyone else.

The admission fee between 2016 and 2021 was kept at the same level and prices were frozen for 2022 as part of the 2022/23 budget.

Each seasonal swim attracts around 500 swimmers and is now a firm part of many RCT residents’ Christmas tradition, the report said.

All swimmers attend a pre-booked session throughout the day and receive a hot drink and pastry at the end of the session.

After a review, the council found that there will be increases in operating costs to run the events and a change to the admission fee will “ensure the council can maintain the same service to residents.”

A delegated decision by council officers said the proposed prices will mean the event continues to be “extremely competitive in price when compared to similar seasonal events and will also continue to showcase the facility as a high quality year round visitor attraction.”

The report said that the fees for the Santa’s Toy Mine Experience have been unchanged since 2018 and adult entry fees for Lido Ponty seasonal swims have remained unchanged since 2016.

After a review, new charges are proposed that “reflect increased operating costs for both venues and events and will ensure they continue to be
positioned as one of the lowest priced attractions in the region” the decision report said.

The report said the proposed new charge for entry to the Santa’s Toy Mine Experience along with an increase in capacity per tour will lead to an estimated £40,000 a year of extra income and it is estimated that the Lido Ponty seasonal swimming new charges will generate extra income of £800 a year.

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