Tourism leaders have called on Welsh Government ministers to listen to the industry when developing policies that will impact businesses.
The call came from Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) chairman Suzy Davies and Steve Hughson, chairman of both the Mid Wales Regional Tourism Forum and the Event Wales Industry Advisory Group, when speaking at the Mid Wales Tourism Conference.
The sell-out conference, which attracted 120 delegates as well as exhibitors and sponsors, was held at the Metropole Hotel and Spa, Llandrindod Wells. The event was organised by MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
Mrs Davies said the WTA, which represents around 6,000 businesses in all sectors of tourism industry across Wales, was working with others to restore the industry’s relationship with the Welsh Government.
There had been a breakdown in communications stemming from the introduction of the 182-day rule for self-catering accommodation in Wales. Self-catering accommodation that fails to be occupied for 182 days of the year now risks paying much higher council tax.
The WTA has been talking to the Welsh Government about the impact of the 182-day rule, a tourism tax and statutory registration of tourism accommodation, but Mrs Davies said it had not been listening and businesses had lost faith in the consultation processes.
“The current engagement structures don’t work for either the Welsh Government or the tourism industry,” she added. “The industry must be in the room when the Welsh Government shapes and designs policy and we need to be listened to.”
She said there were signs that the Welsh Government was now beginning to listen to the industry’s collective voice, as a review of the 182-day rule had been promised and the tourism tax had been delayed until 2027.
“There is now a much better understanding of what we have been all saying for the past 18 months,” she added. “We must never find ourselves in this position again which is why we have organised a symposium in Newtown in January and we hope the Welsh Government will attend.”
Mr Hughson also stressed the importance of a united tourism industry working closely with the Welsh Government to influence and shape policies to ensure that they work well when introduced.
“We can get the Welsh Government and Visit Wales to change, so long as we work in partnership in a polite, respectful and evidence-based way,” he said. “It has never been more important that we work together.”
Regional tourism forums across Wales had an important role in making Welsh Government ministers in different policy areas aware of the cumulative effect of their policies on the tourism industry, he added.
MWT Cymru chairman Rowland Rees-Evans thanked both Mrs Davies and Mr Hughson for their work on behalf of tourism businesses during a challenging time for the industry.
He referred to four consultation papers issued by the Welsh Government. “They will undoubtedly have a major impact on the industry when the legislation is implemented,” he said.
“We are already starting to see the effect of 182-day rule on self-catering holidays. As it stands at the moment, next year we will also have full business rates to contend with, among other changes.
“MWT Cymru has always tried to look after its members, business partners and community groups with help and support from our great team who try to get ahead of the curve whenever new legislation, rules and regulations are being put in front of us.”
Despites concerns about new legislation, he said there were positive signs that 2024 could be a better year for tourism businesses. Forward bookings were healthier than the same time last year and there was feeling that people, who did not take a holiday in Mid Wales this year due to the cost of living crisis, would return in 2024.
Wales Tourism Alliance chairman Suzy Davies being interviewed by Phil Blizzard for a conference podcast.
Salop Leisure touring caravan and motorhome sales staff celebrate the Best Overall Dealership of the Year award from Swift Group (from left) senior sales executive George Harris, sales executives Clarke Allen and Harry Fox, associate director Paul Simpson and sales executives Dan Taylor and James Allen.
Shropshire-based caravan and motorhome dealership Salop Leisure has won the coveted top accolade in Swift Group’s annual awards.
The company, which has sales centres in Shrewsbury, Machynlleth and Stourport-on-Severn, was named the Best Overall Dealership of the Year. There are around 100 Swift dealerships across the UK.
The awards are based on a customer satisfaction survey by Swift and videoed mystery shops which are scrutinised and scored.
Marking the end of the seventh year of Swift’s Approved Dealer Programme, launched in September 2017, the annual awards recognise the accomplishments delivered by dealers. The programme is built around eight customer-focussed key performance indicators which are monitored throughout the year.
“It’s a fantastic accolade for the company and all our employees who have been rewarded for their focus on providing first class customer service,” said Mike Harris, Salop Leisure’s joint managing director. “Every individual member of staff, from sales to customer service and from reception staff to cleaners, has contributed to winning this award.
“Although it’s presented by Swift Group, the award is based on customer feedback and survey results which is very satisfying. We thank all our customers for their positive feedback whilst pledging to strive to further improve standards.”
Salop Leisure employs more than 20 staff in its service department, some of whom work at weekends when it’s more convenient for customers to have their caravans serviced or repaired.
Professor Laura McAllister will deliver the Welsh Political Archive’s annual lecture tomorrow (Wednesday).
Streamed online from Cardiff, she will analyse contemporary Wales, the urgent need for constructive change and offer ideas on creating a new contract between the people and the state.
The Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at the Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University said: “By drawing on my personal as well as professional background in sport and politics, this lecture will challenge us as individuals as well as organisations to rethink how we do politics, and how we can breed better confidence in our country, over time, which could bring a new psychology of success.”
Rob Phillips, from the Welsh Political Archive, which is based at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, said: "We are very proud to be able to welcome Professor Laura McAllister to deliver this year's lecture at such an interesting time in Welsh politics.
“The lecture is the pinnacle of the political archive's calendar and especially this year as part of its 40th celebrations. The lecture will be an opportunity to look forward to future developments while we celebrate the great political collections in the library which preserving the history of Welsh politics for the benefit of the people."
McAllister’s research focuses on Welsh politics and elections, devolution, electoral reform and gender in politics. She was recently elected as UEFA vice president and member of the executive committee. She is also co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales.
The Welsh Political Archive was established in 1983 to co-ordinate the collection of documentary evidence of all kinds about politics in Wales.
It collects records and papers of political parties, politicians, semi-political organisations, campaigns and pressure groups; leaflets, pamphlets and other printed ephemera; posters and photographs; websites and tapes of radio and television programmes. Its work is not limited to a specific section of the library.
The annual lecture was first held in 1987 and a number of academics, journalists, historians and politicians have had the opportunity to speak.
Previous lecturers include Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, Lord Roberts of Conwy, John Davies, Lord Bourne, Jeremy Bowen and Professor Angela John.
Tickets for the event and for the online stream can be ordered free of charge on the Library website: https://www.library.wales/
Aberystwyth now has access to Wales’ biggest EV charging site thanks to a new hub with 40 charging points at the National Library of Wales.
The charging hub, including 10 rapid Tritium 75kW DC charging points, will benefit local electric vehicle owners, including customers of nearby towns and villages, as well as attract tourists who are either visiting or passing through Aberystwyth.
The new retail EV charging site will enable up to 40 vehicles to charge simultaneously. The site includes eight rapid (DC) connectors for public access and two rapid (DC) connectors for staff access, enabling a 20% - 80% state of charge within 40-minutes. Wales is aiming for 4,000 EV chargers by 2030.
This rollout will allow EV drivers to visit the shop and browse the library while they wait for their electric vehicle to complete a charge cycle, which in turn will increase visitors through the library’s doors to support the institution.
The Tritium rapid chargers on the site have been procured and installed by Trydan Will Davey Electrical, a professional NICEIC approved electrical contractor.
The National Library of Wales will be the charge point operator (CPO) of the site and will therefore manage day-to-day operations for each of the new chargers, providing a seamless and reliable charging experience for EV drivers.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s librarian and chief executive, said: “This is a major step forward in our offer to visitors and in achieving our wellbeing goals set out in our strategic plan, in line with the Future Generations Act.
“We are proud to have worked with Tritium to secure the largest EV facility in Wales to date and will welcome all who wish to use the charging facilities as well as using that time to visit our exhibitions, café and shop.”
Jane Hunter, Tritium’s chief executive, said: “While the UK Government has now confirmed plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035, the rollout of EV charging infrastructure must continue to accelerate to meet their target to install 300,000 public charging stations by 2030.
“Wales has a major role to play in this acceleration so that the whole of the UK transport network is electrified, allowing drivers to traverse the country.
“Our latest installation at the National Library of Wales brings much-needed fast chargers to Wales and Tritium is proud to be part of a solution that is encouraging both sustainable travel and opportunity charging at this national landmark in Aberystwyth.”
Following the official opening at 10am, the 2023 John Gittins Memorial Award, the 2024 Nuffield Scholarship and the Oxford Farming Conference Bursary 2024 will be presented.
Abi is a third generation mixed farmer, farming in partnership with her parents and uncle in Wenvoe, just outside Cardiff. Goldsland Farm is home to 200 milking cows, 150 sheep, 90 beef cattle and 120 acres of arable.
She is co-founder of Cows on Tour, a successful project aimed at improving knowledge of farming for all children, especially in urban areas, an Open Farm Sunday host and a former NFU Cymru Wales Woman Farmer of the Year.
Abi is a board member of Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, a member of South East Wales TB Eradication Board, chair of Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHECS) and a member of the NFU Antimicrobial Resistance Focus Group. S
She is a graduate of the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester and completed an MBA in Farm Business Management in 2004.
Abi is passionate that all young people should have a basic awareness of agriculture techniques and an understanding and appreciation of the ‘end product’ - food, environment, horticulture, and land management.
She has always recognised the importance of the Welsh Educational Curriculum, seeing the advantages of flexible learning techniques, which are imperative for the future of farming.
For more information about the Winter Fair, or to purchase tickets please visit the RWAS website https://rwas.wales/winter-fair/ .
The local community turned out in force to preview a short film that has been made to promote the Mid Wales town of Rhayader as The Outdoors Capital of Wales.
Rhayader 2000, the organisation that works in partnership with the town council to promote tourism, organised the event at The Lost Arc to show councillors, local organisations and businesses the fruits of its work over the past year.
Capturing a range of outdoor activities and events that the town and nearby Elan Valley has to offer, the film, together with two shorter social media clips, have been made for Rhayader 2000 by Tremio Films.
Supplementary photography for the website was captured by Mogwai Media. The film’s official launch date has yet to be decided.
Kerena Pugh, from Rhayader 2000, dedicated the film to late founding member Liz Lloyd and thanked everyone who had contributed, saying it had been a huge community effort.
“It’s lovely to bring everyone together to preview the film,” she added. “It has been a busy four years getting to this point and it just shows what we can achieve when we all work together. I hope we can all continue to work together to help Rhayader to grow.”
Rhayader’s Mayor Councillor Rhys Thomas said: “This is another step on the exciting journey we have been on for a number of years to make Rhayader a destination in its own right.”
He congratulated Rhayader 2000 for working with the town council to create a vision for tourism in the town and surrounding area. He also thanked MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism) for helping to promote Rhayader.
Sam Cook from Tremio Films revealed that he had been inundated with volunteers during the making of the film, which he described as being “special”.
MWT Cymru chief executive Val Hawkins congratulated Rhayader 2000 on the production of the film which, she said, not only promoted the town as the Outdoor Capital of Wales but also captured the strong community spirit.
Rhayader 2000 is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent membership organisation representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
One of Wales’ leading country estates is “decking the hall” ready for a busy programme of events and activities during the festive season.
Children and adults are being invited to have breakfast with Santa at Gregynog Hall, in Tregynon, near Newtown on Saturday, December 9 at 9am.
They will sit down to a full cooked breakfast and then listen to a special Christmas story in the magnificent wood panelled Blayney Room. Tickets for both children and adults cost £16.95, including breakfast and Santa will have a special present for all the children.
In the afternoon, between 12 noon and 4pm, visitors will be able to enjoy a special festive afternoon tea in the Blayney Room. The afternoon tea, which will be repeated on Thursday, December 21, costs £19.50 with tea or coffee or £24.50 with mulled wine.
On Sunday, December 10, the hall will open for a special Christmas Open House Afternoon from 12 noon to 4pm. Visitors will have a chance to explore the rooms and history guided by volunteers. Mulled wine and mince pies with be for sale and admission costs £7.50.
On December 16 and 21, from 1-4pm, a Royal Horticultural Society trained gardener will be showing visitors how to make a fabulous Christmas wreath ready for the festive season. The course costs £40 which includes equipment, mulled wine or coffee and a mince pie.
On Sunday, December 17, Quindici Chamber Choir and tenor soloist Rhodri Prys Jones provided a real festive treat with a Choral Christmas concert in the famous Music Room at Gregynog at 2.30pm. The concert costs £10.
The festive programme ends on Friday, December 22 at 6pm with a free Carols in the Courtyard event. Carol singers will be joined by local musicians to perform around the Christmas tree, complete with mulled wine and mince pies.
“Christmas is coming and we are excited to celebrate at Gregynog,” said Lydia Bassett, head of business development at Gregynog. “There’s lots going on, so keep an eye out for activities and events over the festive season and come and celebrate with us. We’re decking the hall and we can’t wait to welcome you.”
To book places for events, call Gregynog on Tel: 01686 650224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas shopping in Ceredigion will be given a boost again this year with free all-day car parking on three Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas.
There will be no parking charges at Council operated Pay and Display car parks on 09, 16, 23 December this year to enable Christmas shoppers and visitors to support the county’s local businesses at a crucial period for businesses.
Councillor Keith Henson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services said: “We’re delighted that we are able to open up our car parks for free to help support local business, whether that be shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants in the lead up to Christmas. Our local businesses create a wonderful festive shopping experience in our towns and so we’d encourage everyone to make the most of the free parking and shop from local businesses this festive period.”
Charges at our pay and display car parks are reasonable and conveniently made through cashless means.
You can see the locations of all Council operated Pay and Display Car Parks on our website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/travel-roads-parking/parking-civil-parking-enforcement/pay-and-display-car-parks/
“Our annual Mid Wales Tourism Conference provides an opportunity to cover the topics that matter most to tourism businesses,” said Val Hawkins, chief executive of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism), the event organiser. “It’s the one big tourism event of the year in the region not to be missed, no matter how big or small your business is.
“Delegates will hear from experts in their field, have an opportunity to talk to other tourism and hospitality professionals and suppliers face to face and network with industry leaders and organisations who are there to help businesses succeed.
“The conference is designed to give businesses a clearer idea of what's going on, what's changing and how we can better collaborate to keep Mid Wales at the forefront of people's minds as a fantastic destination.”
MWT Cymru chairman Rowland Rees-Evans will kick off the conference at 10.30am, followed by Wales Tourism Alliance chairman Suzy Davies who will speak about the organisation’s crucial role in tourism advocacy.
In a section titled ‘Empowering businesses with practical solutions’, speakers will give updates on fire safety law, new recycling rules and grant opportunities and tax saving tips for businesses.
A trio of speakers from Visit Wales will then focus on marketing under the heading ‘From Mid Wales to the world: Working together to grow tourism’.
Reaching international tour operators and potential visitors will be the subject for tourism marketing manager Clare Dwight, while media manager Rob Jones will give advice about engaging with the media and tourism manager Sarah Whitfield will focus on opportunities arising from Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB).
Steve Hughson, chair of Mid Wales Regional Tourism Partnership and Event Wales Advisory Group, will summarise the morning programme before leading a short question and answer session.
The afternoon session will focus on marketing Mid Wales and looking to the future by harnessing emerging technologies to support businesses.
Buzzmint founders Charles Symons and Neil Ferguson will speak about empowering connected communities and circular economies through the application of Web 3.0 technology.
Mrs Hawkins will then speak about the Visit Mid Wales website and supporting sustainable communities before introducing Guy Edwards, newly appointed manager of a community-centred project, linked to tokens, rewards and incentives, which is being managed by MWT.
A question and answer session closes the conference at around 3pm.
Adam is also a children’s gardening book author and regular guest on BBC Radio Cymru and S4C programmes Prynhawn Da and Heno.
He began gardening when he was only three years old, following his grandfather’s gardening delight. Now, with more than 20 years of gardening experience, Adam advocates organic and nature-friendly gardening and strives to encourage and enhance biodiversity, working with schools and community groups.
“When the RWAS chief executive and I met Adam, we were both hugely impressed by his energy and vision,” said show director, Richard Price. “Adam has so many fantastic ideas to make the horticultural section an interesting and vibrant area.
“We are looking forward to working with him, and our team of volunteers and stakeholders from across the industry, to bring the new horticultural village to life in time for next year’s Royal Welsh Show.”
Adam said: “I am delighted to be offered this fantastic opportunity to work with the society and excellent individuals from across Wales to realise the potential of the new horticultural village.
“I support wholeheartedly the vision to inspire, educate and collaborate and this will prove crucial in re-igniting the prestige of the horticultural section as an integral part of the show.
“I'm really looking forward to encouraging a new generation of exhibitors and growers to compete and celebrate their work, with a big focus on education. The opportunities to work together with groups across Wales and promote horticulture are endless.
“The horticultural section has a long and rich history of showing Wales at its very best on an international stage and we now have a golden opportunity to develop and celebrate Welsh horticulture further.”
Adam will be attending the upcoming Royal Welsh Winter Fair later this month as a guest speaker during a new educational programme, ‘Our Land / Ein Tir’. For further information about the winter fair or to buy tickets, please visit https://rwas.wales/
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