A new international campaign to attract more overseas visitors to Wales was warmly received by international tour operators following the launch at the World Travel Market this month.
The launch of ‘The Wales Way’ - a family of three national scenic touring routes that cross the country’s most epic landscapes, showcasing its fascinating history, coastlines and attractions – is the first phase of a ten year programme.
The Wales Way is the umbrella name for three initial routes, celebrating key tourism products and experiences along the North Wales Way, the Coastal Way and the Cambrian Way.
Welsh Government, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, said:
“The idea for The Wales Way was founded on the basis of a manifesto commitment to develop a Cultural Corridor along the A55 in North Wales.
“We now have three routes celebrating Wales’ culture, countryside and coast, and mirroring our tourism themed years including Year of Adventure 2016, Year of Legends 2017 and Year of the Sea 2018. The Wales Way is also about encouraging visitors to immerse themselves in their own journeys of discovery, and this will be reinforced through our Year of Discovery 2019.
“Our aim is to attract more international visitors to Wales - last year, we saw record breaking spend from overseas visitors and crossed the million visitors for the first time in 8 years which was excellent news. However, in this tough, global market place we need to do more to grow our market share of visitors to Wales.
“We know that the concept of national routes - which is used worldwide can really inspire visitors and give them the confidence to explore more of a country – and stay longer.
“The routes will encourage visitors to stop and visit different places, areas, attractions and products which will enable our visitors to get a deeper understanding of Wales and will benefit the local tourism industry too.”
The Campaign was unveiled to influential travel trade and media contacts at the World Travel Market in London’s ExCEL, with the help of Aston Martin. Visit Wales have teamed up with Aston Martin to offer prize draw to win an amazing Aston Martin driving experience and a mini break in two of Wales’ finest luxury hotels, which will be promoted at the World Travel Market.
Aston Martin, which is in the process of opening its second UK plant in St Athan Nr Cardiff, has partnered with Visit Wales on the launch of The Wales Way. Dr Andy Palmer CMG, President and CEO of Aston Martin, said:
“We’re incredibly impressed by everything Wales has to offer and my team has had a fantastic time exploring and filming on its roads. We’re very proud to be able to help launch these routes and look forward to welcoming visitors from the world over to experience them for themselves.”
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, said:
"The Wales Way is an excellent initiative which draws together all that Wales has to offer – encouraging people to explore more of Wales. The Wales Way has the potential to be considered one of the top tourist routes in the world, and I look forward to working with the industry as the project evolves.”
The family of three routes meander – and has been based on the idea of going igam-ogam - through the very best of Wales’ landscapes and attractions, allowing visitors to unearth the country’s gems and unique experiences.
Unlike other world-famous routes, the Wales Way isn’t confined to driving; they offer rail connections, walking paths, cycling routes and horse riding trails.