Government announces new plan to drive tourists beyond London
International tourists spent £368m visiting Wales last year, up 5% from 2013, while 933,000 visits were made to the area in 2014, up 7 per cent from 2013, new analysis revealed today.
Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch welcomed the latest figures and pledged to work closely with the industry to help further strengthen tourism across the UK.
The news comes as the Prime Minister today announced the Government’s new 5 point plan to boost tourism in every region of the UK - spreading the benefits of one of our fastest growing sectors beyond the capital.
A new inter-ministerial group will be formed to co-ordinate and align action across Government to ensure that we have the right infrastructure in place to make it easy for visitors to discover the best of what this country has to offer.
The group, headed by the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, and including ministers from across government, including the Department for Communities and Local Government, BIS, DEFRA, Home Office, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will focus on five key areas:
- A better co-ordinated sector: the sector is too fragmented - we want to see local attractions and tourism organisations collaborating to grow the sector for everyone not competing.
- Skills and jobs: Driving and retaining talent in the sector to encourage growth
- Common sense regulation: Reforming regulation sensibly to drive competition and improve the tourism offer for visitors
- Transport: Forging innovative links between the transport and tourism sectors to help visitors travel outside of the capital
- An improved welcome: Delivering a world class welcome at the Border Ministers from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments are also invited to join the group when relevant.
The Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Millions of overseas tourists visit the UK every year and most take in the sights of London. But Britain has so much more to offer, from the Cornish Riviera to the Scottish Highlands and everything in between.
For many areas tourism is a key industry bringing jobs, growth and security for working people. Tourism supports almost one in 10 jobs in the UK and we want to rebalance the economy to make sure this boost is felt right across the country.
Tourism Minister, Tracey Crouch, said:
Wales offers a great and varied mix of sights and experiences. It’s fantastic that so many tourists visited this part of the UK in 2014.
Competition for global travellers has never been higher, which is why we must not be complacent and continue to invest and support the UK’s tourism offer.
I look forward to working closely with the tourism sector to champion the best of Britain as part of our long-term economic plan and see places like Scotland continue to enjoy a growing tourism industry.
Wales Office Minister Lord Bourne said:
Tourism is an essential part of the Welsh economy – employing over 140,000 people, making up 10% of Welsh jobs and generating millions of pounds of spending for Wales.
Strong partnerships between the government, the tourism industry and transport providers help Wales’ tourism sector continue to thrive.
I hope today’s announcement is the beginning of a major tourism boost across the UK that brings more visitors, jobs and spending to Wales.
Executive Director of the Wales Tourism Alliance Adrian Greason-Walker said:
The tourism industry in Wales is always keen to see further strengthening of the infrastructure that underpins our economy.
We all need infrastructure that assists our industry in delivering the best quality product that our visitor has come to expect and one that showcases Wales’.
The UK welcomed record numbers of tourists in 2014, with 34.4 million people visiting our shores, spending a record £21.8 billion in destinations across the country.
The industry, alongside government and VisitBritain, is working with national and local tourist boards, to ensure the UK stays competitive and we continue to build on this success.
The Government is also making it more attractive to come to the UK by reforming air passenger duty (APD). The two highest bands were abolished on 1 May 2015 and children under 12 now pay no APD, cutting tax for millions of passengers.