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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Welsh Conservatives unveil tourism strategy

Welsh Conservatives have unveiled a policy which they say promises to deliver a tourism "boom” for Wales.

The Party is pledging to promote Wales to the rest of the UK and the world and put industry expertise in the driving seat.

The announcement follows statistics which Conservatives claim shows that under Labour day visits to Wales by British residents have fallen by one fifth.

They have announced a five-point plan for the tourism industry and outlined a commitment to introduce a Tourism Bill as a core tenet of their legislative programme should they win the May 5 Welsh Assembly election.

Visit Wales would be removed from government control and operate at arm’s-length.

A new fund would also be established, offering grants to small and medium-sized operators, helping them expand and grow.

Firms would be able to bid for the grants in exchange for up-skilling, or taking on new staff. 

Mark Isherwood, candidate in North Wales, (pictured) said: “A decline in visits to Wales by British residents highlights the need of a change of emphasis.

“Tourism contributes massively to t he North Wales economy.  The people who know best in attracting tourists to Wales are those in the industry itself - and it is time to put the experts in the driving seat.

“We’d remove Visit Wales from government control, freeing it both from the shackles of bureaucracy and Labour’s ‘safety first’ approach."

Welsh Conservatives Leader, Andrew RT Davies, said: "We know many tourist operators struggle with costs such as VAT bills, and a Welsh Conservative Government would provide a dedicated fund, helping small and medium-sized operators grow, expand, and meet costs.

“Meanwhile, our dedicated Tourism Bill will enshrine, in law, an independent, expert-led approach to boosting tourism into Wales, and deliver a mechanism that ensures local communities are involved in promoting visitor experiences. 

“We have so much to be proud of, and with a renewed emphasis on attracting visitors to Wales, we can see our seas swell, beaches throng and mountains move.

“Whilst the sector faces challenges, in Wales, we have tremendous potential to ensure Wales is a world-leader, promoting our castles, seaside towns, growing cities, stunning landscapes and industrial heritage. Under a Welsh Conservative Government, the industry would be freed from government interference, unleashing Wales’ potential as a world-leader in tourism, securing real change and delivering a boom for the sector." 

Welsh Conservatives say they will also safeguard Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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