Wales: Transforming the economy, engineering success
From the soaring peaks of Snowdonia in the north, to rugged coastlines in the west and the cosmopolitan, bustling city of Cardiff in the south, Wales’ tourism attractions cover a broad spectrum of places and interests that appeal to visitors of all ages. With an extremely rich history, heritage and traditions, the welcoming country offers a myriad of year-round attractions, including four coveted UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales, Castles and Town Walls of King Edward I, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal and Blaenavon Industrial Landscape. In addition, the small town of Harlech is home to the steepest street in the world. Visitors who enjoy outdoor activities and sports are spoiled for choice, with hiking trails, mountain biking routes, rock climbing locations and water sports sites found throughout the nation. With the worst of the pandemic over and international borders open again, the government is working hard to support the regrowth of the tourism sector and employing high-profile marketing campaigns to highlight the sustainable getaway to an international audience. “Tourism is a huge sector for us as it employs an exceptionally substantial number of people, and has a significant financial value as well,” states Minister Vaughan Gething. “It is part of the reason people know where Wales is and what Wales is about, from having visited or seen our striking and unique landscapes and features.
“The challenge is that international tourism shrunk significantly for reasons we all understand during the pandemic. That was accompanied by more people making choices within the U.K. about where they would go as they could not go abroad. Our domestic tourism sector had two remarkably busy summers. “Part of our challenge is how we continue to attract those people to return again when there are options to go to other parts of the world. To extend the season out, we are having regular conversations with our tourism sector, and hope to have a renewed agreed approach with them on how Wales is a destination for people within the U.K. and Ireland for those shorter trips, but also overnight stays as well.” Tourism officials are confident about the sector’s prospects when it comes to enticing international visitors for business purposes, leisure or both. “We have significant markets in the U.S. and further afield where people are looking to come and spend time in Wales,” Minister Gething adds. “There is much history between North America and Wales to build on. We look forward to welcoming people in a sustainable manner. The way people behave while here is vital, and I hope they are inspired by the choices we make when they return to their own country.”