The 2022 ‘UK Conference and Meeting Survey’ (UKCAMS) is seeking your assistance with this vital VisitBritain-sponsored research.
"In these troubled times it is essential that the conference industry is able to reliably demonstrate its scale and value to the UK economy. UKCAMS (http://www.ukcams.org.uk) is the only national survey that provides a year-on-year estimate on the size of the sector. It has been conducted every year since 1993.
We would really appreciate it if you were able to complete the survey. The UKCAMS questionnaire collects information on your conference business in the 2021 calendar year. It covers the full year although we recognise that you may not have been trading fully throughout the year because of the Covid-19 restrictions. The questionnaire also includes future-facing questions, assessing opportunities and challenges."
Click here to complete the UKCAMS questionnaire by 10th June: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/UKCAMS-2022
Reporting venues receive a complimentary, personalised report benchmarking your performance against other similar venues. Any information you supply is treated in full confidence and only aggregated information based on all reporting venues will be published. The information is only used for research purposes.
Ever wanted to meet your favourite author? Monty Lit Fest 2022 might just be your chance.
Over the weekend June of 10-12, the festival will showcase more than 20 brilliant writers with a range of sessions that offer something for everyone.
The festival will celebrate writing from Wales, the Borders and beyond, bringing together a stellar line-up of literary talent for book-lovers to enjoy.
Hear from bestselling crime authors, Sophie Hannah and Janice Hallett, explore historical fiction with Hope Adams and Alix Nathan and discover the challenges of writing sequels in Welsh with Bethan Gwanas, Sioned Wiliam and Myfanwy Alexander.
For those interested in non-fiction, there will be a chance to meet Horatio Clare or Mike Parker. Discover the ancient Persians with Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones or get back to the land with Patrick Laurie, Bella Bathurst and Roger Morgan-Grenville.
Poetry lovers can join Frieda Hughes for an evening of conversation and readings while M. Wynn Thomas will reveal which 12 poems he has chosen to illustrate the history of Wales.
Foodies can listen to Carwyn Graves as he takes a gastronomic history tour of Wales and learn how to write a food review that has the chance of being published in Taste.Blas magazine.
Children go free to hear about the latest re-telling of the stories of The Mabinogion with Matt Brown and Eloise Williams.
If the usual literary festival fare is not for you, just enjoy a pint at the Late Lounge, exercise your brain cells at the Big Quiz Night or help us celebrate the 175th anniversary of Montgomery Cricket Club at a literary cricket tea.
Festival chair, Sarah Morris, said: “I’m blown away by the brilliant authors we’ve got lined up for this year’s Monty Lit Fest, a real chance to celebrate the written word in all its forms.
“Whether you’re an avid reader, an aspiring writer or have never been to a literary festival before, we’d love you to join us. The whole community in Montgomery is ready to give everyone a friendly welcome for what promises to be a very special weekend.”
The festival’s main venue will be Montgomery Town Hall, with other local venues in the town playing a supporting role.
Festival-goers can also enjoy an exciting new art exhibition in The Institute, opposite Montgomery Town Hall. ‘It’s All in a Title’ is a wide range of work by local artists based on book titles and is the perfect accompaniment to Monty Lit Fest.
For music lovers, local musicians will be busking around Montgomery throughout the weekend.
Festival goers will be able to buy books from two bookshops: a pop-up Festival shop run by Oswestry’s Booka, as well as Montgomery’s own Montgomery Bookshop.
Full programme details are available on the Festival’s website: www.montylitfest.com.
Tickets are on sale online, or in-person, locally, from the Bookshop and the Ivy House Café in Montgomery. Tickets may be purchased for individual sessions or for the whole weekend.
Monty Lit Fest is run by the Montgomeryshire Literary Festival Trust. Founded in 2018, the trust’s aim is to celebrate writing from Wales, the Borders and beyond. It is committed to programmes that celebrate a diverse range of writing and appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Follow @MontyLitFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The iconic Salem painting.
The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth held a special lecture during the Hay Festival focused on the famous Salem painting by Sydney Curnow Vosper today (Tuesday).
Art historian Peter Lord discussed the painting, purchased by the library in 2019, on the Festival Friends Stage.
During the event, the original painting was on display, offering a special opportunity to view one of Wales’ most iconic artworks.
A symbol of Welsh life and the nonconformist tradition in Wales, Salem became better known due to the fact that some people were able to see an image of the devil in the folds of the shawl worn by the painting’s central character.
In ‘Vosper’s Salem’, Mr Lord reviewed how the simple image became the focus of complex political identities and the wider question of iconic representations of nationhood in Wales.
Pedr ap Llwyd, national library chief executive and librarian, said: “The library is delighted that this iconic painting of the chapel service at Cefn Cymerau and Siân Owen and the devil in her shawl are part of our collections.
“This enigmatic work by Sydney Curnow Vosper is one of the nation’s treasures and we enjoyed the opportunity to share it with the Hay Festival audience.”
Painted by Vosper in 1908, it portrays a scene in Salem Chapel, Cefncymerau, Llanbedr, near Harlech and central to the painting is Siân Owen, an old woman dressed in traditional Welsh costume.
This painting is one of two versions painted by Vosper. The first version was originally purchased by the industrialist William Hesketh Lever and used as an image in a promotional campaign by Sunlight Soap, the Lever Brothers’ company.
As a result, reproductions of the image were circulated across Britain and displayed in homes across Wales. The image is famous because it came to symbolise the piety of the common people and acquired a moralising mythic back story.
This second version – belonging to the National Library – was painted for the artist’s brother in law, Frank James. During the 20th century, against a background of bombings, the burning of holiday cottages and the language movement, it underwent a transformation, redeployed by activists as a token of political docility and colonial subservience.
Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society president David Mitchell cuts the ribbon to send off the Founders’ Day Train, held by Ian Drummond, chairman of the Heritage Group and Jonathan Mann, society chairman, who also drove the leading Loco No. 4.
Talyllyn Railway is the world’s first preserved railway, known affectionately as ‘The Railway with a Heart of Gold’.
This name comes from the title of a film released in 1965, much of which was shot in 1953 in the early days of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society.
A number of Talyllyn railway supporters, who have signed up to make a regular monthly donation to the society, form the membership of the ‘Heart of Gold’ Group. They receive exclusive benefits such as an invitation to travel on the Founders’ Day train and a special edition of the Talyllyn Railway enamel badge.
At this year’s Founders’ Day, David Mitchell, society president, sent the train off by cutting a ceremonial tape using the original ribbon first used 71 years ago.
The guests enjoyed a special double headed train hauled by Locos No 4 (Edward Thomas) and No 3 (Sir Haydn) and the trip included a pause at Tŷ Dŵr for No.4 to take water.
Tŷ Dŵr is the newly reconstructed watering point, located on what was the ‘Mineral’ section of the railway beyond the original terminating point for passenger trains at Abergynolwyn.
It fell into disrepair and was dismantled in the 1950s. The faithful restoration of the old Tŷ Dŵr watering point was one of the first objectives of the Talyllyn Railway Heritage Group in response to the railway becoming a part of the newly conferred UNESCO ‘Llechi Welsh Slate Landscape’ heritage status.
Society chairman, Jonathan Mann, said: “It was wonderful to be able to celebrate our Founders’ Day in a more normal manner this year. A good number of members attended, including one gentleman who had with him a photograph taken when he was a young boy, standing in the guard’s van on the railway in 1947.
“This scene was quickly recreated with him standing once again in the van for a photograph, much to his delight.
“Another recreated scene - the use of the recreated Tŷ Dŵr watering point - was a particular highlight of the journey, No 4 having been the last locomotive known to have used it before it was taken out of use.
“I would like to record my thanks to the Heritage Group for their splendid and continuing work in enhancing our railway.”
Later this year, the railway will be running a number of special trains available to anyone interested in learning more about the slate heritage of the line.
On the Pioneer’s Train, an experienced guide will point out interesting features and answer questions. This journey of discovery offers the chance to learn more about the inspirational story of how a small group of dedicated people discovered a little railway lost in time, about to be forgotten, and decided it needed to survive. Their ingenuity and determination has made Talyllyn Railway what it is today.
For full details of these events, see our website: https://www.talyllyn.co.uk
“The Royal Welsh means so much to so many; it has played a big part in my life, and so, it is a huge personal honour and responsibility to take on this role. I’m keen to build on its success, safeguarding what is such an important part of our national identity for generations to come.
“People are central to this success and all the Royal Welsh stands for, and I look forward to working alongside the talented team of staff, volunteers and members who make it all happen, to showcase Wales and what it means to be Welsh.”
Well-known in Welsh agriculture, Aled grew up on the family's hill farm near Cwrt-y-Cadno in North Carmarthenshire. He played an active role in the Young Farmers movement, which culminated in him being named National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs Senior Member of the Year for England and Wales in 2012.
After graduating from the University of Reading with a First-Class Honours Degree in Land Management, he spent the early part of his career as a land agent and became a qualified chartered surveyor and agricultural valuer.
He later joined the RWAS as the assistant chief executive between September 2013 and December 2017 when he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to study the role of agricultural societies and shows.
Upon completing his scholarship, he presented his report at the 2016 Nuffield UK conference and was awarded the John Stewart Shield for the best presentation.
Since leaving the RWAS, Aled has used his skills in broadcasting, becoming the lead presenter of the BBC Radio Cymru farming news programme, Bwletin Amaeth.
He has also spent three years as chief operating officer of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), alongside several freelance projects and directorial positions.
Throughout that time, he has remained heavily involved with agricultural shows and events, using his knowledge and Nuffield research to help societies with their strategic planning and facilitation.
RWAS chair of trustees (designate) Prof Wynne Jones, who led the selection process, said: “Aled’s background and experience will be hugely valuable to the society as it looks forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Aled will bring his strategic vision and strong personal qualities to the role.”
Aled Rhys Jones, new chief executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
(by Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government, 24 May 2022)
On 2 March 2022, I announced the next steps being taken by the Welsh Government, following our consultation on local taxes for second homes and self‑catering accommodation. The steps form part of our plans to ensure property owners make a fair contribution to the communities where they have homes or run businesses. This work, in turn, is part of the Welsh Government’s three-pronged approach to addressing the impact that large numbers of second homes and holiday lets can have on communities and the Welsh language.
The views conveyed in the consultation, including those from respondents representing the wider tourism industry, clearly support a change to the criteria for self-catering accommodation to be classified as non-domestic. Respondents were of the view that the majority of genuine holiday accommodation businesses would be able to satisfy increased letting thresholds, and a wide range of possible alternatives was suggested. Increasing the thresholds will provide a clearer demonstration that the properties concerned are being let regularly and are making a substantial contribution to the local economy.
Following our consultation, the Welsh Government is of the view that properties let out as self-catering accommodation on an infrequent basis should be liable for council tax. Increased letting criteria will ensure that self-catering properties are classed as non-domestic, only if they are being used for business purposes for the majority of the year.
I, therefore, announced an increase to the number of days, within any 12-month period, that a self-catering property is required to be made available to let, from 140 to 252 days, and actually let, from 70 to 182 days. A technical consultation on the draft Non-Domestic Rating (Amendment of Definition of Domestic Property) (Wales) Order 2022 (“the Order”) ran from 1 March to 12 April 2022. The consultation sought views on the clarity and practical application of the draft legislation. I have published a summary of responses.
Responses to the technical consultation did not raise any issues of technical clarity that are considered to require amendment of the draft legislation. I am today confirming that the Welsh Government will proceed with the legislation as drafted and consulted upon. The Order will come into force on 14 June 2022 and have practical effect from 1 April 2023, applying the amended criteria from that day onwards. Property owners intending to meet the amended criteria should aim to do so during the 2022-23 operating year, but compliance with the criteria will not be assessed until after 1 April 2023.
I recognise the strength of feeling among self-catering operators and have listened to the representations from individual businesses and industry representative bodies. There is limited evidence available in relation to some of these considerations and I am grateful to the sector for providing additional information they have gathered from their members. This has been taken into account in completing the Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Assessment, which makes use of the available evidence. I recognise that the stronger criteria may be challenging for some operators to meet. The purpose of the change is to help ensure property owners are making a fair contribution to local communities, for example by increasing their contribution to the local economy through greater letting activity or by paying council tax on their properties. The Welsh Government’s policy priority is to support sustainable communities and affordable housing, as set out in our three-pronged approach.
The Welsh Government recognises that some self-catering properties are restricted by planning conditions preventing permanent occupation as someone’s main residence. The Council Tax (Exceptions to Higher Amounts) (Wales) Regulations 2015 provide for an exception from a council tax premium for properties restricted by a planning condition preventing occupation for a continuous period of at least 28 days in any one‑year period. In light of the changes we are introducing to the letting criteria, I am also exploring whether further amendments to these regulations are necessary in advance of the changes taking practical effect.
I will also be issuing revised guidance to local authorities on additional options that are available in the event that self-catering properties restricted by planning conditions do not meet the letting criteria.
As part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we are committed to taking immediate action to address the impact of second homes and unaffordable housing in communities across Wales, using the planning, property and taxation systems. As we continue to progress the package of measures and drawing on the latest evidence base, we will keep under constant review the whole range of levers available to use and how they may be deployed most effectively to meet our policy objectives and avoid any unintended consequences.
The team at Ceredigion distillery, In the Welsh Wind, is celebrating after winning the COVID 19 Resilience Award at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards.
The awards shortlisted businesses in a range of categories to reflect the diverse nature of what is a key sector in the Welsh economy and one that has a global reputation for excellence.
The COVID 19 Resilience Awards, sponsored by Cywain, recognised businesses that had gone above and beyond not only to support their communities but to grow and develop despite the pandemic.
During the first COVID 19 lockdown, In the Welsh Wind’s team was initially reduced to just the owners, Alex Jungmayr and Ellen Wakelam, with their young son.
Business manager Joe Lewis worked from home and the remaining three staff were placed on furlough. However, Ellen and Alex saw that the Cardigan area needed hand sanitiser and they were able to produce it, so they moved production away from gin and into sanitiser overnight.
Ellen said: “It was clear to us that we were in a position to be able to help the community, so there was no question that we would set up hand sanitiser production. From one small photo on social media of a bottle of hand sanitiser, we had queues of people up the distillery drive coming to collect.
“We also supplied many community groups and organisations including the RNLI, the Post Office delivery teams, the police, care homes and doctors’ surgeries. We provided the sanitiser free or at cost where we could.”
In addition to hand sanitiser, during the pandemic the team launched the distillery’s first ‘own brand’ Signature Style gin to much acclaim.
The company also worked with Bluestone Brewing Co to save 3,500 litres of Bluestone Summer Rocks beer from being wasted by creating a cask-aged Welsh vinegar which has since been featured on TV.
The business has grown significantly since September 2020, now employing 18 people and, most recently, has opened a gin bar, Bar 45, in Cardigan.
Ellen added: “Winning this award is really a testament to the whole team and how we’ve not only survived but grown and succeeded through what has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone.
“It’s been an honour to be able to help the community where I grew up by providing hand sanitiser and to work with Bluestone on the vinegar project as well as seeing our own success with the launch of Signature Style.”
Ellen Wakelam receives the COVID 19 Resilience award from Dewi Evans, Cywain’s project manager, watched by Sian Lloyd at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards
National road race champion Pfeiffer Georgi heads a line-up of Britain’s most talented riders heading to the eighth edition of the Women’s Tour, Britain’s leading UCI Women’s WorldTour event which will be visiting Mid Wales next month.
Georgi, who won her national title at Lincoln in October, finished eighth overall on her debut in the Women’s Tour last year and went close to winning stage two in Walsall with a late attack.
Stage four of the race is from Wrexham to Welshpool on Thursday, June 9, with stage five from Pembrey Country Park to Black Mountain Friday, June 10.
Spectators can watch all the action by the roadside for free and highlights of the race will be shown on ITV4 in the UK, and around the world via Eurosport and GCN.
Stage four starts from the heart of Wrexham before entering Powys at Rhydycroesau. The 148-kilometre route will take in Llansilin and Penybontfawr before an unforgettable, anti-clockwise loop of Lake Vyrnwy near Llanwddyn.
It then winds its way towards the finish line in Broad Street, Welshpool, via Llanfihangel, Dolanog, Castle Caereinion, Berriew, Montgomery, Forden and Leighton.
Stage five will see riders roll out from sea level at Pembrey Country Park before heading north to Llandovery via Pontyberem, Nantgaredig and Brechfa. The stage features 2,065m of elevation gain, the most of any stage in this year’s race, finishing atop Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Previous British road race champion Jess Roberts (Team Coop – Hitec Products) will also be on the start line at the Colchester Sports Park for stage one.
For Roberts, the 2018 British champion, starting this year’s event will mark her debut in the six-day race. Stage five, which runs between Pembrey Country Park and the Black Mountain, will take place entirely in her native Carmarthenshire.
Roberts said: “I’m particularly excited for stage five, which goes along my home training roads. It will be really special to race on them, and my family will be able to watch too! It’s definitely going to be a tough stage, that’s for sure!”
Roberts’ Team Coop – Hitec Products team-mate Josie Nelson also returns to the race next month. Runner-up to Georgi in last year’s British championships, Nelson finished in the top 15 of all but one stage of the 2021 Women’s Tour on her debut aged just 19.
Two-time Olympic champion Katie Archibald will return to the race after a four-year absence. The Scottish track star, who has also won four world titles during an illustrious career, heads up CERATIZIT – WNT Pro Cycling’s six-rider squad.
Archibald has recorded three top-10 stages finishes during her four previous participations, including fifth in London on the final day of the 2017 race.
Reigning UCI World Hour Record holder Jos Lowden will line up for Uno-X Pro Cycling Team in barfneyear, helped by a brilliant second place in the Atherstone individual time trial stage.
The race ends in Oxfordshire on Saturday, June 11 with a stage between picturesque Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds and the heart of historic Oxford.
Top British riders (from left) Anna Henderson, Jess Roberts, Pfeiffer Georgi, Joss Lowden and Katie Archibald.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething has today announced £2.9m from the Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basics capital fund will be shared among 18 projects that will help deliver small-scale infrastructure improvements in strategically important tourism locations across Wales.
The fund, which is supporting local authorities and national parks to deliver the improvements which will benefit both communities and visitors, will support projects to help alleviate pressure in areas that are seeing increased visitor numbers.
Brilliant Basics will also support projects to improve accessibility to sites and projects that make their destinations more environmentally sustainable.
Funding will enable the completion of the Porthcawl Cycle Scheme, which will link the cycle route from Rest Bay, to Harbourside, and the Town Centre to Trecco Bay.
Improved access will be seen at selected beaches in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for wheelchair users that will provide a walkway across the sand, a portable changing structure with hoist and beach wheelchairs. The project will also see boardwalk access at Poppit Sands and the creation of a new viewing platform, with an e-bike hire pilot scheme run in St David’s.
Amenities will be upgraded for both visitors and the local communities at Wepre Country Park and Greenfield Valley, two of Flintshire's most popular heritage green spaces. Facilities will include improved toilet provision, including a Changing Places toilets and accessible play equipment.
During visits to Swansea, Mumbles and Gower for Wales Tourism Week, the Economy Minister visited Down to Earth who were successful in obtaining Brilliant Basics funding last year. The Minister visited the award-winning Social Enterprise’s Murton site – which has 100% renewable electricity, heating and hot water and with the Brilliant Basics is now Gower’s first 50kW Rapid EV charge point.
Mark McKenna, co-founder/director from Down to Earth said:
"It is vital to improve the electric vehicle infrastructure on Gower and Swansea to encourage green tourism and improve air quality. With the entire electricity for the rapid and fast charge points coming from community-owned, Gower renewable energy, it also demonstrates how we can locally improve energy resilience through 100% renewables!”
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:
“We’re very aware of the important part that local tourism amenities have on someone’s overall experience when on a day trip or on holiday. These facilities often go unnoticed, but they are an important part of people’s experiences when they visit Wales, while also benefit those who live in the area.
“The £2.9m in new funding I’m announcing today will go to projects which will help us make our destinations more accessible and more sustainable, and to grow tourism for the good of Wales.”
Gwynedd Council has secured funding to develop their Aros-fan project which will upgrade assets such as public car parks in 6 destinations across Gwynedd to develop a network of locations that will create legitimate provision for 'overnight' parking and sleeping throughout the year for the purpose of motor homes in the county.
Dafydd Williams, Head of Environment for Gwynedd Council welcomed the funding and said:
“Gwynedd Council has undertaken significant research into motor homes in the county and has listened to the views of communities, motor home owners and camp site operators in order to understand illegal or inappropriate overnight stays within the county.
“Through the Brilliant Basics funded project we will pilot a network of up to 6 ‘Aros-fan’ sites across Gwynedd which will provide appropriate over-night provision for motor homes and campervans with their own on board facilities.”
Sioned Williams, Head of Economy and Community for Gwynedd Council, said:
“In order to support the local economy, all 6 sites will be located within walking distance to key towns and destinations, will have basic services and will operate a strict 48 hour maximum stay.
“Although these facilities will not be operational this summer, we hope that all relevant infrastructure will be in place by Spring 2023. If the pilot proves successful - the Council may consider the development of further Aros-fan facilities in the county in the future”.
Gifts of Wales is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
Claire Owen, MWT Cymru’s membership manager, said: “We are thrilled that Kathryn has received such well-deserved recognition for Gifts of Wales. Small independent shops are so important to the visitor economy across the region, providing another great reason for visitors to explore our market towns.”
Gifts of Wales was a new venture for Kathryn in April 2021, but it’s not her first experience in retail. Many people may recognise Kathryn from her 18 years working as retail manager at Powis Castle & Gardens in Welshpool.
Kathryn Greatorex, owner of Gifts of Wales, in her shop.
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