From the grandeur of Wales’s National Trust properties, to the museums that define Welsh history, Wales Office Ministers will this week experience a snapshot of the wealth of tourism attractions that the country has to offer as they mark the start of Wales Tourism Week (23 Feb - 3 March).
Wales Tourism Week 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 £5billion 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.
Wales Office ministers will each mark this year’s celebrations with visits to tourist destinations across Wales that continue to attract visitors from the UK and beyond, year upon year.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
“The exceptional summer of sport and Diamond Jubilee celebrations ensured the spotlight was firmly fixed on Great Britain in 2012, and we in Wales took the opportunity to highlight the host of incredible attractions we have to offer.
“Wales Tourism Week provides us with a fresh opportunity to recognise the crucially important role that tourism has to play in our economy. The GREAT Britain campaign launched by the Prime Minister last year provided us with the opportunity to show the world that Britain is open for business; that it is a great place to visit, to live, to do business with and a great place to invest.
“Along with my Wales Office ministerial team, I am looking forward to celebrating Wales Tourism Week and visiting a range of tourist destinations that can impress visitors from home and abroad.”
Among the regions of Wales, North Wales attracted the largest share of overnight GB tourists on a holiday in 2011 and, on St David’s Day, the Secretary of State will visit two of the region’s most popular attractions.
Mr Jones will visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay to mark its 50th anniversary celebrations, before visiting and touring Bodnant Gardens in the Conwy Valley.
Wales Office Minister with responsibility for tourism, Baroness Jenny Randerson, will visit three attractions across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan on Monday 25 Feb, each epitomising the range of activities available across the length and breadth of Wales.
She will visit National Trust property Dyffryn Gardens and St Fagans National History Museum, before joining Welsh Government Minister, Edwina Hart AM at the launch of the National Tourism Awards for Wales 2013 at the Cardiff International White Water centre in Cardiff Bay.
Baroness Randerson said:
“Wales Tourism Week is as much about reminding us of the opportunities on our doorstep as it is about encouraging more visitors to come to Wales. It allows us to mark the wealth of wonderful events, places and attractions this country has to offer and raise awareness of the industry’s vital importance to all elements of the economy.
Wales Office Minister, Stephen Crabb will visit the UK’s smallest city, St Davids in Pembrokeshire and attend the cultural celebrations organised to celebrate St David’s Day on 1 March.
In partnership with Pembrokeshire Tourism, Mr Crabb will also host a question and answer session with local businesses to raise awareness of the importance of the tourism industry in the region, and ensure that the concerns of the business operators are heard in Westminster.
Mr Crabb said:
“Wales has such a diverse tourism offering. I am looking forward to meeting with members of the tourism industry in Pembrokeshire and to hear first hand about the issues they are facing, and the opportunities they are seizing.
“This Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government to ensure that businesses are receiving all the support they need to grow, and that the tourism industry has the opportunity to thrive in Wales.”