Tourism, hospitality, attraction and activity businesses across Mid Wales are being encouraged to be creative to capitalise on this year’s theme adopted by Visit Wales, “Llwybrau. Wales, by Trails”.
Val Hawkins, chief executive of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism), believes the theme, which encourages both visitors and residents to explore epic trails, is perfectly suited to Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
MWT Cymru - https://www.visitmidwales.co.uk/ - represents around 600 tourism, hospitality, attraction and activity businesses across the rural heartland of Wales.
Visit Wales, the tourism arm of the Welsh Government, wants trails to be the springboard into exciting experiences and new opportunities. The theme aims to encourage visitors and residents to find forgotten treasures, embrace journeys of the senses and make memories along pathways around attractions, activities, landscapes and coastlines.
From works of art to mountains, from coast to castles and from Welsh food and drink to stargazing in Dark Skies, there are trails for all businesses to link themselves with and for visitors and residents to enjoy.
“Following the pandemic, people are seeking curated experiences that reconnect them to heritage, culture, nature, community or something else altogether,” explained Val.
“They want inspiration, recommendations and interlinked, tailored selections - cherry-picked trips rather than infinite choices. “Whether the trail is a path through dense ancient woodland, a section of the Wales Coast Path, a culture crawl linking arts venues together or a food-fuelled walking route around local producers’ eateries, there’s a way to find a trail to suit all occasions, interests and businesses.
“In Mid Wales, there have always been trails - be they trails connecting landmarks together, trails through the great outdoors or trails weaved through language, culture and ancestry. 2023 is a call for us to celebrate Wales’ trails, from the well-trodden to the brand new, and to open up our country for all to enjoy.
“This year holds massive potential for Mid Wales and I am encouraging our member businesses to be creative and innovative in putting together a whole range of attractive options for visitors, from traditional walking and heritage trails to taste and stargazing trails.
“There are lots of opportunities for businesses to engage with communities, other businesses and visitors for their mutual benefit.”
MWT Cymru wants its members to make use of trails all year round to breathe new life into activities and events.
They are being encouraged to embrace the seasons, pair up with activity providers with ready-made trails, offer a flexible trail itinerary that can be changed to suit the weather, create historical trails by linking up with museums and events, use existing trails to run guided tours of historic buildings and use Welsh words along trails to increase visitor engagement.
Mid Wales has many areas with truly Dark Skies protected from light pollution, where people can enjoy the wonders of stargazing. The Elan Valley is an International Dark Sky Park, the Cambrian Mountains has many accessible Dark Sky Discovery Sites and both the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks have been designated International Dark Sky Reserves.
Businesses are encouraged to offer stargazing-related trails and events, such as the self-guided Cambrian Mountains Astro Trail.
Focusing on unique Welshness, ‘only in Wales’ trails that have a real sense of place are suggested. The trails can be based on the area where a business is located, its history, heritage and use of the Welsh language.
Taste trails are another popular way of engaging with visitors, allowing businesses in destinations to work together to showcase Welsh cuisine through food and drink, cooking workshops and food presentations.
Many existing walking, running and cycling trails across Mid Wales offer fantastic opportunities to explore the great outdoors. For example, the region includes sections of Offa’s Dyke Path, Glyndŵr’s Way, the Cambrian Way and the Wales Coast Path.
The region is also perfect for water-based trails including kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, coasteering, surfing, rafting and wild swimming. Mucky trails could include gorge walking, assault courses, paintballing, bog snorkelling and wild running.
For those interested in trails on wheels, Mid Wales has ideal locations for mountain biking, cycling, quad biking and guided off-road motorcycling. High and low trails comprise climbing, abseiling, caving / potholing and zip lining.
In addition to walking trails, there is geocaching, orienteering, foraging, birdwatching and running.
Wildlife is another big visitor attraction and Mid Wales has many nature reserves, rivers, lakes, two National Parks and the Cambrian Mountains within its catchment. Tourism businesses are being encouraged to create trails celebrating their nearby flora and fauna, which might include the once Red Kite, osprey, bottlenose dolphins and otter.
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