Wales Office Minister, Baroness Jenny Randerson has today (25 Feb) marked the start of ‘Wales Tourism Week’ celebrations with visits to 3 of the most popular attractions in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Wales Tourism Week (23 Feb - 03 March) is a stand alone celebration to showcase the region as an inspirational tourist destination, and highlight potential economic significance for the future.
The tourism sector is worth £5 billion to the Welsh economy and employs more than 8% of the workforce. In 2011, Wales attracted 879,000 international visitors to its shores, spending £328million.
The minister first took a tour of Dyffryn House and Gardens in St Nicholas, in the Vale of Glamorgan, - the newest addition to the National Trust in Wales’ property portfolio. The site has recently undergone an £8 million restoration and some rooms within the mansion house will be re-opened to the public at Easter.
Justin Albert, Director of the National Trust in Wales said:
We were very pleased to welcome Baroness Randerson today to the newest member of the National Trust family in Wales. We hope she will visit many times and see how the gardens and the house grow into a major tourist attraction in Wales and a special place loved and enjoyed by all.”
The minister then visited the St Fagans National History Museum - one of Europe’s leading open-air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction.
The museum chronicles the historical lifestyle, culture and architecture of the Welsh people and has recently benefitted from a £11.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant - the largest grant ever to be awarded by the HLF in Wales.
The minister was escorted on a tour of the museum by the Head of St Fagans, Bethan Lewis who briefed the minister on the 5-year restoration plan set to get underway at the site.
Baroness Randerson then accompanied Welsh government minister, Edwina Hart on a visit to the White Water Centre in Cardiff Bay where Mrs Hart launched the National Tourism Awards for Wales 2013.
The awards will take place in north Wales during the autumn and play an important part in recognising the best that Wales has to offer and improving quality.
The White Water Centre won the ‘Best Visitor Experience Award’ at the 2010 ceremony and has emerged as one of Wales’ most popular visitor attractions.
Baroness Randerson said:
The tourism sector makes a vital contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of Wales, and it is crucial that we do all we can to attract visitors from home and overseas to experience our rich culture and deep history.
Whilst I already know a lot of the great places to visit in Wales - not least having lived in Cardiff for 40 years, I always welcome the opportunity to speak to people working in the industry, to hear about the challenges they are facing, and opportunities available to them.
Last year, VisitBritain launched its biggest, most ambitious tourism marketing programme for 10 years: “GREAT Britain You’re invited”. The campaign is designed to show the world that Britain is open for business; that it’s a great place to visit, to live, a great place to do business with and a great place to invest. Wales has much to gain from this campaign so I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase the huge variety of tourism businesses and attractions that we have right here on our doorstep.”
Notes for editors
- The Wales Tourism Awards 2013 are now open for entry. For more information on how to enter visit www.ntawales.com or www.gtccymru.com (yn Gymraeg)
- The last day for entries is 15 May 2013. The awards will be held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on 21 November 2013.