Visit Wales confirms sustainability as the top priority in the new national tourism strategy
On October 9, the Next Tourism Generation Alliance partner, Cardiff Met, attended a Visit Wales Roadshow to learn of the new tourism strategy 2020-2025. The roadshow for the South-East region of Wales was held at Miskin Manor which has Green Key accreditation. The Roadshow was attended by approximately 100 people from the private, public and third sectors. The presentation began with a summary of key findings from a Visit Wales consultation exercise and the top strategic priority identified is sustainability. Louise Dixey summaries several key points relevant to NTG project implementation in Wales.
The top strategic priority for tourism development in Wales, sustainability, is reflected in five new goals. These are (1) economic growth (2) environmental wellbeing (3) cultural wellbeing (4) health wellbeing (5) satisfaction for visitors and locals. This represents a major change from the previous national strategy in which there was simply one goal: an increase of 10% in tourism revenue that has almost been achieved. That said, audience members highlighted that the five new goals should be given parity and economic growth should not be given priority.
Sustainability will also be central in future funding decisions on tourism projects made by the Welsh Government and job creation will no longer be the defining metric. This is significant as tourism has had more funds allocated for quality development over the next decade.
Skills shortages were identified as a challenge. The Director of Culture, Sport and Tourism for the Welsh Government, Jason Thomas, highlighted that “tourism needs to be a first-choice career” as skilled people were needed to provide quality visitor experiences. Furthermore, Visit Wales is planning to establish a physical marketing hub to help tourism businesses improve their digital skills.
The new strategy, Welcome to Wales: Priorities for the Visitor Economy 2020-2025, once approved by the Welsh Assembly, will be formally launched in November.