£250k drive to improve visitor experience in North Wales, UK
By Ceidiog Hughes
A new drive has been launched to turn North Wales into a holiday hotspot. Tourism Partnership North Wales are investing £250,000 in a bid to boost the region’s £2 billion visitor economy that employs around 40,000 in North Wales. Tourism Partnership, the body responsible for the strategic development of the region’s visitor economy, are working with the six local authorities in North Wales to create an “Excellent Visitor Experience”.
According to Dewi Davies, the Regional Strategy Director, the key to the success of the strategy was setting up a network of Destination Management Partnerships representing the public and private sectors in each of the counties.
As well as smartening the region’s towns and villages, the campaign will include marketing, research, developing social media, learning journeys and profile-raising PR. The idea is that visitors will want to return again and again – and tell their friends and families to come here too. A recent survey by the Travelodge hotel chain showed that 65 per cent of Brits are now taking so-called staycation holidays closer to home. With 25 of the UK population within a two-hour drive of North Wales, Tourism Partnership believes the region is well-placed to take advantage of the trend.
Mr Davies said: “The most important aspect of what we are doing is to improve the visitor experience so we are spending £250,000 each year with our partners in the six Destination Management Partnerships across North Wales, from Anglesey to Gwynedd to Conwy to Denbighshire to Flintshire to Wrexham. We know how important that experience is, it’s what people take home with them and it’s what they tell to their friends and families as how good a time they’ve had. Our aim to attract new and returning customers who spend money and create jobs across the whole of the region, in our coastal communities where most of the accommodation and also in the rural communities where they have their great outdoor experiences, whether it’s walking or climbing or some of the exotic products that we have in the adventure sector”.
It was a sentiment echoed by Andrew Forfar, the organisation’s Partnership Development Manager. He said: “The idea of destination management is central to our plans, whether that’s identifying important projects in terms of infrastructure work in improving the signage or the lay bys or the maintenance and repair of the public environment. You never have a second chance to make a first impression so it’s vital to have a clean, attractive environment. By working together we’re aiming for speedy planning decisions, clear highways, good signage, litter free areas and in the case of Conwy investing in seagull proof bins. If we get each county doing this we’re going a long way to providing a much better destination for North Wales and moving up that league table, in terms of places people talk about as being a great place to visit. The bottom line being is that tourism is a vital component of the economy in each of the six counties so it is vital that everybody works collaboratively and sings from the same hymn sheet. We are seeing some very exciting investments taking place across North Wales and we have a fantastic selection of events that visitors can enjoy. All of these help raise the profile of North Wales and catch the eye of potential visitors. When people come here we’ve got to make sure that they get what it says on the tin and that they do have a brilliant experience.”