First Minister Mark Drakeford will visit Conwy Castle this morning as the latest figures show an increase in tourism visits over the Easter period in Wales.
The visit comes as Wales Tourism Week 2019 draws to a close and as figures from the Wales Tourism Business Barometer are published today, which show the tourism industry had an excellent Easter.
The figures reveal that 85% of tourism businesses surveyed saw an increase or maintained their visitor levels over Easter.
And Cadw figures for the Easter weekend show visitor number were up 11% compared to last year and revenue was up by 31%.
The First Minister said:
“I’m delighted to visit Conwy Castle during Wales Tourism Week and to see that Easter was an excellent start to the season for the castle and for the tourism industry generally.
“A great Easter doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels for the season ahead – it certainly boosts confidence for the coming season.
“Visit Wales’ Year of Discovery campaign continues in key markets, with a particular emphasis on the domestic market – making sure that Wales is front of mind when people are considering a staycation this year.”
Conwy Castle, which with Harlech, Beaumaris and Caernarfon Castle and Town Walls form a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recorded a 40% increase in revenue over the Easter weekend, taking £45,000 over the four days.
The well-received ‘Hunt the Sword’ family Easter event launched the start of an actioned packed summer for the site, which last year benefited from more than £400,000 of conservation work.
The late Easter was a boost for the industry with a third of businesses seeing an increase in overall business citing this as a positive factor, compared to the earlier Easter in 2018. Of those who had increased visitor numbers, 39% reported better weather as the most common reason and the vast majority (85%) of operators are confident for the summer.
Easter this year was also popular at Wales’ national museums. St Fagans National Museum of History welcomed 31,561 visits over the Easter weekend (19 – 22 April 2019) which is an 80% increase on last Easter.
The Wales Tourism Business Barometer also found Brexit uncertainty is impacting on advance bookings for the summer – both in a positive and a negative way. Enquiries and bookings from people from across Europe are subdued but the domestic market looks promising.
Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Ian Edwards, the Welsh Government representative on the Visit Britain board, said:
“The increased visitor numbers over Easter are great news for the Welsh tourism industry and hopefully point the way to a strong summer season ahead. We enjoyed a very busy long bank holiday weekend at Celtic Manor and the fantastic weather meant hotel guests and day trippers alike could make the most of our adventure activities and enjoy some al fresco dining. We expect the trend for staycations to grow again this year with continued uncertainty over Brexit and the weak pound deterring foreign travel.”
The First Minister added:
“The focus of Wales Tourism Week this year has been on Strength through Partnership and we’ve achieved a great deal through the collaborations and partnership working with the tourism industry – the support for our themed years is just one example.
“We are now looking at what comes next for tourism in Wales, as the current strategy Partnership for Growth draws to a close in 2020. I encourage anyone with an interest in tourism to help us shape the future development of our visitor economy.”
To start this process of developing the priorities for tourism, 10 big questions are being asked which will help to develop the priorities for the Visitor Economy. Visit Wales would like to hear the views of anyone who has an interest in tourism.
Deadline for responses is 31 May and the 10 questions are available here.