Walkers on the Welsh coast spent £84.7 million in 2014, supporting 1,000 jobs, according to a new report.
The report* also found that 43.4 million day visits to the Welsh coast included walking as an activity.
This ranged from local people taking a short beach stroll to visitors completing the entire 870 mile long Wales Coast Path over 100 or more days.
A face to face survey of 1,483 groups on the Wales Coast Path found that 61 percent of respondents were visiting on day trips from home. The remaining 39 percent were staying away from home for one or more nights.
Fifty-nine percent of visits were made by people living in Wales, with 38 percent coming from England and three percent from elsewhere.
The average distance covered in one direction was nearly three miles.
Welcoming the figures, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“It is no exaggeration to say that Wales has some of the most stunning coastline in the UK. It is extremely encouraging to hear that so many people are taking advantage of the opportunities provided by our coast.
“By maximising the opportunities for tourism and recreation we are providing the Welsh economy with a welcome boost and, in turn, helping people improve their health and wellbeing”
“I am proud that, in 2012, Wales became the first country in the world to have a dedicated footpath along its entire coastline. This has undoubtedly helped more people to enjoy our coast and contributed to these impressive figures”.
Quentin Grimley, Coastal Access Project Officer at Natural Resources Wales (NRW) welcomed the report and said:
“It’s good to see so many local people and visitors exploring Wales’ magnificent coastline.
“The spectacular Welsh coastline offers walkers numerous options. There are strenuous walks along towering cliffs and rugged headlands, to gentle strolls along sandy beaches or on the promenades of our famous seaside resorts.
“Linking them all is the 870 mile long Wales Coast Path which runs right around the country’s coast from Chester to Chepstow.
“Our environment is the most valuable natural asset we have and the Welsh coast is an example of this."
NRW works in partnership with 16 coastal local authorities and two National Parks to manage and maintain the path, with funding from the Welsh Government.
NRW also work closely with Visit Wales.