The Independent reports on a growing controversy amongst the Welsh tourist industry, whether the £7 million the Welsh Government has allocated for promoting Wales is adequate or not.
They say that Welsh tourism groups have slammed the £7m budget as “hopelessly inadequate”. Adding that the Welsh Government’s marketing budget is dwarfed by those of other parts of the United Kingdom. This is because Scotland spends £47m on promotion and even the seven-mile long Channel Island of Jersey has nearly as big a budget as Wales, at £6m:
In a series of submissions to Westminster’s Welsh Affairs committee, tourism leaders complain that the number of international visitors has dwindled since tourism was devolved to the Welsh Assembly in 1999. The number of overseas visitors to Wales has fallen by 250,000, while those to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have risen, according to the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (Wava).
They express frustration at the slow progress of Tourism minister Edwina Hart’s promotion strategy, and point out the industry is worth £8.7bn to the Welsh economy, representing 18 per cent of GDP. The group describe the tourism budget as “pathetic” and argue that the Welsh Assembly has been unambitious in its targets for tourism revenue growth. At 10 per cent by 2020, this is significantly lower than England’s target of 51 per cent and Northern Ireland’s 81 per cent.
“Many are dismayed by what is happening within Welsh tourism under stewardship of the Welsh Government,” they told MPs. “If the Welsh Assembly Government does not increase their marketing spend Welsh tourism/attractions will inevitably slowly decline as our markets are gradually captured by other parts of Great Britain.”