Now the Covid-19 Tourism Taskforce, set up by Welsh Government and representing the hospitality and tourism industry in Wales, has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford asking him to forward the reopening dates in line with England and Scotland, or even sooner. This would see indoor hospitality and indoor attractions reopen on May 17.
MWT Cymru, which represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd, has backed the letter and commended the work of the taskforce throughout the pandemic.
Rowland Rees-Evans, MWT Cymru’s chairman, is calling for the taskforce to continue its work during the Covid-19 recovery period and beyond and for the next Welsh Government to create a Cabinet Minister for Tourism.
“We welcome the taskforce’s letter to the First Minister because it comes from the whole hospitality and tourism industry,” he said. “The Welsh Government has said all along that the reopening dates are guided by the Covid-19 infection rate data because it doesn’t want the NHS to be overwhelmed.
“We are now at the stage where the data has overtaken the dates, so why can’t we reopen faster. If we don’t reopen the industry in line with England, Wales is going to lose out again and people are going to book holidays and short breaks in other parts of the UK.
“We feel that the Welsh Parliament-Senedd Cymru election should have been delayed because purdah is standing in the way of important decisions during an absolutely crucial time for the industry.
“We would like to thank the Covid-19 Tourism Taskforce for its excellent work during the pandemic and we think it’s essential that it carries on representing the hospitality and tourism industry during the recovery and beyond. We also believe there is a definite need for a Cabinet Minister for Tourism in the next Welsh Government.”
Taskforce member, Wales Tourism Alliance chairman Andrew Campbell said: “We are calling for flexibility in bringing forward the reopening of indoor hospitality and attractions, following the excellent work done by the Welsh Government in controlling the Covid-19 infection rate in Wales.
“We must get the sector open because businesses need to start trading as their cash reserves are low. It’s essential that the sector continues to have the ability to feed in concerns and issues to the Welsh Government as and when they arise.”
Representing Mid Wales on the taskforce is Steve Hughson, Mid Wales Regional Tourism Forum chair and chief executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society at Llanelwedd.
Other taskforce members based in Mid Wales include Adrian Greason-Walker, Wales Tourism Alliance’s Wales policy advisor who lives at Nantmel, near Rhayader and Anthony Rosser, Hospitality Cymru’s chair who is general manager and operations director of Lake Vyrnwy Hotel.
The taskforce’s letter praises the First Minister and Welsh Government for saving lives in Wales and protecting health services from being overwhelmed. However, it says the time has come to reopen the hospitality and tourism sector.
“We appeal with urgency for an early reopening and the positive opportunity to help you begin the economic rebuild that our great industry can help the new government to deliver in the coming months,” it states.
“As a taskforce, we very much look forward to working together with that government to bring forward business stability, staff wellbeing, community replenishment and a Croeso Cynnes to our customers and visitors.”
Rowland Rees-Evans, MWT Cymru’s chairman.
In the second instalment of a new series of blog articles called #MWTBehindTheScenes, our MWT Chief Exec Val Hawkins gives a run-down about some of the work we've been doing recently to represent and lobby for your best interests.
Wales Tourism Week
We’ll pick up where we left off in May, when Val represented Mid Wales at the Senedd in Cardiff at the launch event for Wales Tourism Week, and also attended the reception in Westminster. The WTA, along with its partners including MWT promoted the value of partnership and raise awareness of the industry’s importance to the Welsh economy. (Read all about WTW in this article from the Wales Tourism Alliance).
During May we also met with Powys County Council in Llandrindod Wells to discuss tourism in the county and we held our Mid Wales Tourism Board Meeting at our offices in Machynlleth; thanks to all our board members who give up their time and expertise voluntarily to support MWT and the tourism industry in Mid Wales.
A special thanks to Jonathan Jones CBE for giving up his time to attend our May board meeting. For those that don't know Jo, he joined the Wales Tourist Board in 1973 and in appointed the Chief Executive of the WTB in 1999. In 2006 WTB was taken into the Welsh Assembly and became ‘Visit Wales’ as we know it today. Retiring in 2013, he shares his experience, knowledge and passion for Welsh tourism and today he is a special advisor for the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism; the capacity in which he attended our MWT board meeting. See image below.
Into June, Val attended the Gwynedd Destination Partnership Meeting and a Tourism Ambassadors for Wales meeting in Llandudno – a showcase event to look at how ambassador schemes have been implemented in different areas of Wales.
In July, Val represented MWT at:
· The Mid Wales Regional Tourism Forum at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
· A Cross Party Group meeting in Cardiff where Jason Thomas, Director for Culture, Tourism and Sport for Welsh Government presented an overview of Visit Wales’ action plan for tourism. We also met with the Visit Wales marketing team at Treforest.
· A meeting with North Wales Tourism to discuss the current North & Mid Wales Business Events project and more.
· A presentation to the Visit Wales Quality Assessment team regarding business engagement.
We hope this gives you a flavour of some of the work we do that you don’t necessarily get to hear about - we’ll endeavour to keep you up to date. If you have any questions about our representational role, please contact email@example.com
In the first of a new series of blog articles called #MWTBehindTheScenes, our MWT Chief Exec Val Hawkins gives us a run-down on just some of the work we've been doing recently to support, represent and lobby for your best interests.
Following our Mid Wales Tourism Conference in February at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells, Val attended an event organised by Visit Britain which brought together a consultative group of industry experts at the Celtic Manor to discuss the UK tourism sector deal.
Into March, MWT met with the new Visit Wales Head of Marketing to discuss promotion of the Mid Wales region. We also represented Mid Wales at the Mid Wales Tourism Forum in Newtown, and at the Mid Wales Business Network meeting organised by MWMG and Business Wales. Towards the end of the month, Val attended the Visit Wales Tourism Summit at The Metropole where discussions centred on shaping future priorities for tourism and the wider visitor economy in Wales when the tourism strategy for Wales comes to an end in 2020.
In April MWT met with Aberystwyth University to discuss the possibility of a research and GIS mapping project to help promote the region. We also met with the team behind freetobook, an online booking software provider, to negotiate a reduced rate for MWT members who wish to use the system.
Discussions were also had with MWT web developers about an ongoing programme of enhancements to our Visit Mid Wales website that we have in the pipeline. At the end of the month Val attended a Visit Wales meeting in Swansea to discuss the new TIPF funded ‘This is #RealMidWales’ project which we have successfully secured funding for - more exciting news and updates to follow about this.
It’s also been great to host WASCO (the Wales Association of Self Catering Operators), and The Wales Association of Self Catering Agents who have both held meetings in our board room at our offices in Machynlleth recently.
Last but not least, into May, Val will be representing Mid Wales at the Senedd in Cardiff at the launch event for Wales Tourism Week, and will also attending the reception in Westminster.
So it’s a busy time! We hope this gives you a flavour of some of the work we do that you don’t necessarily get to hear about - we’ll endeavour to keep you up to date. If you have any questions about our representational role, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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