Welsh Liberal Democrats: Tourism can drive economic recovery for all Wales

March 14, 2011 2:45 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have marked the start of Wales Tourism Week by announcing their commitment to boost jobs in the tourism sector. The sector already supports 172,000 jobs across Wales. However, the Welsh Government often fails to understand the vital economic role tourism plays in driving growth. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have pledged to put tourism at the centre of their economic strategy in the forthcoming elections.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat plan for creating jobs in tourism includes:

Prioritising the marketing of Wales as a tourist destination to new overseas markets rather than other parts of the UK, in order to develop a more sustainable tourist base. Making St David's Day a public holiday and global celebration of Wales, raising global awareness and encouraging people to visit for the day and to buy Welsh products.Developing a major events calendar that is specifically tasked with bringing events to Wales that are broadcast to new markets, such as the Tour de France and the American NFL.Better promoting of off-season activities and assisting in creating a wider range of winter activities across Wales in order to reduce seasonal variations in tourism.Making rural tourism a priority by investing in broadband and wi-fi and ensuring that rural destinations and transport are coherently advertised.Making Tourism part of the economy portfolio rather than the responsibility of the Heritage Minister as is currently the case.

Commenting, Jenny Randerson AM, Shadow Minister for the Economy, said:

"Tourism brings in over £6 billion to Wales every year - it is a central part of the Welsh economy but with the right support could grow further and help fuel a sustainable economic recovery"

"Tourism is an essential part of the Welsh economy and should be treated as such. We will complement our plan by putting the Minister for the Economy back in charge of driving tourism forward.

Eleanor Burnham, Shadow Heritage Minister said:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a coherent plan to boost tourism and create jobs by promoting Wales in new areas, making St David's Day a public holiday and developing a proper strategy to attract major events like the Tour de France."

"Many rural areas are reliant on tourism for their income. Everywhere in Wales can share in the economic recovery."

Notes to editors:

1. The final report of "The Economic Case for the Visitor Economy" by Deloitte & Oxford Economics published in June 2010 illustrates the importance of tourism to the economy of Wales compared to other parts of the UK. The total contribution in 2009 (which includes impacts through the supply chain, of capital investment and Government expenditure) accounts for £6.2bn of GDP, 13.3% of the total economy - compared to 8.6% in England, 10.4% in Scotland and 4.9% in Northern Ireland. The direct contribution is £2.7bn which equates to 5.8% of Wales GDP compared to 3.9% in England, 4.9% in Scotland and 2.1% in NI.

2. In Wales, the rural economy has a particularly strong link with the Visitor Economy with the share of employees in Conwy estimated by Deloitte to be 16.7% with 15.1% in Pembrokeshire, 13.2% in Ceredigion, 12.2% in Gwynedd and 12.0% in Powys. 25% of all VAT registered businesses in Wales are in the Visitor Economy.

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