Wales Office Minister David Jones has today [ 21 May 2012 ] visited Mid Wales to see how tourist destinations in the area are preparing for a ‘GREAT’ summer. The Minister visited three locations in and around the Welshpool area, each location looking forward to benefit from a summer of Diamond Jubilee, Olympic and Paralympic celebrations.
Minister David Jones with Shane Logan from the National Trust
The visit follows the Secretary of State for Wales’ diplomatic and trade mission to South East Asia as part of VisitBritain’s ‘GREAT’ campaign and it is the latest in a series of visits across Wales for the Minister, as businesses, organisations and attractions prepare for the tourist season. The Minister will also attend a closed meeting of representatives from regional partnerships and organisations promoting tourism in the region.
Minister David Jones with finance director and Chris Lloyd owner of Charlies
The Minister first visited Charlies, a much-loved local business and £8m development at the Coed-y-Dinas site. The business is looking to expand its reach as a tourist destination featuring a farm visitor attraction with a farm shop, deli and in-door/outdoor play area, with the emphasis on education. The Minister was met by owner Chris Lloyd and Finance Director Nick Dann, who highlighted the plans for future expansion of the site and introduced the Minister to Charlies staff.
The Minister later visited the National Trust property Powis Castle to see how the castle is preparing for a bumper tourist season. The castle, which is one of the biggest employers in the region and the most significant attraction in Mid Wales had 107,000 visitors in 2010, with expectations of many more this year. The Minister was met by Property Manager Shane Logan who took the Minister on a tour of the castle’s treasured collections, before meeting with volunteer gardener Rosemary Denholm.
Mr Jones then attended a private meeting with representatives of organisations and bodies charged with promoting Mid Wales as a tourist destination, before heading to Canal Wharf to meet Eva Bredsdorff, a curator at Powysland, Llanidloes and Newtown Textiles museums who highlighted the museum’s plans for celebrating the Jubilee as well as the Olympics this summer. Powysland museum incorporates a number of exhibitions celebrating life in the region and Ms Bredsdorff outlined how the canal side museum is hoping to benefit from future development plans for the canal.
Minister David Jones and Eva Bredsdorff
Mr Jones said: “I have been delighted to visit Mid Wales today to see how the region is gearing up for a summer of milestone events, as we prepare for the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics and the Paralympics. Wales is rich with tourist beauty spots and this summer businesses are able to showcase what Wales has to offer on an international platform.
“With the run up to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, we can look forward to a renewed interest in Wales’ attractions. Charlies stores at Coed-y-Brenin, Powis castle and Powysland museum are all expanding and developing their output for tourists and with the support of regional tourism partnerships they are committed to putting the region on the map. The attractions I have visited today are all highlighting that Mid Wales is Games ready, open for business and a ‘GREAT’ place to do business.”
Chris Lloyd, owner of Charlies:
“We are proud to have been selected as represenative of the best of what Wales has to offer. At Charlies we care about the future not just the past. From our roots as retailer to a small agricultural communit, Charlies has grown to become the predominant non-food retailer in Mid Wales. Our ambitions don’t stop there. In a tough retail climate, against global competitors, we need to build on our heritage of traditional values and serving the community wherever they may be. We must compete with the best retailers in the country, develop new sites and increase the employment opportunities in our heartland.”
Shane Logan, Property Manager National Trust’s Powis Castle and Gardens:
“As an attraction with an international profile, we are proud of our role in attracting visitors in ever increasing numbers to Mid Wales and adding to the local economy.
“Visitors recognise the quality of experience Powis Castle and Gardens offers and are willing to travel into the region to enjoy it.
“As a sector worth £1.8 billion to the Welsh economy, tourism is vital to national prosperity. It is essential therefore, that we in the National Trust, as the largest tourism business in Wales, continue to build on our successes and play that key role of attracting and entertaining visitors to Wales.”
Eva Bredsdorff (Powysland Museum) said: “We are very excited about the Jubilee and the Olympics and Powysland Museum in Welshpool, Newtown Textile Museum and Llanidloes Museum are all planning to put on exhibitions and events celebrating these milestones.”