P2 Assess the Contribution of Tourism to the Uk Economy by qrd13110

VIEWS: 38 PAGES: 81

More Info
									Tourism Opportunities Action Plan Framework
 Enhancing Inland Tourism in Central Wales




                   Final Report


                    Prepared by

       Planning Solutions Consulting Limited



                    August 2007
                                                                                         9 Leigh Road,
                                                                      Havant, Hampshire PO9 2ES
                                                                                   tel: 023 9248 1999
                                                                                  fax: 023 9248 1888
                                                                               e: info@pslplan.co.uk


                                                                                   www.pslplan.co.uk


All information, analysis and recommendations made for clients by Planning Solutions Consulting
Limited (PSCL) are made in good faith and represent PSCL‟s professional judgement on the basis of
information obtained from the client and elsewhere during the course of the assignment. However,
since the achievement of recommendations, forecasts and valuations depends on factors outside
PSCL‟s control, no statement made by PSCL may be deemed in any circumstances to be a
representation, undertaking or warranty, and PSCL cannot accept any liability should such statements
prove to be inaccurate or based on incorrect premises. In particular, and without limiting the generality
of the foregoing, any projections, financial or otherwise, in this report are intended only to illustrate
particular points of argument and do not constitute forecasts of actual performance.



                                                    2
Contents




1.0   Introduction



2.0   Key Drivers



3.0   Framework for Action



4.0   Distinctive Destinations



5.0   Action Plan: Programme and Projects



6.0   Delivery and Implementation




Appendix 1: Consultees

Appendix 2: Workshop 1

Appendix 3: Workshop 2




                                    3
1.0    Introduction

This section sets the context for the Action Plan, providing the background to the
report, the specific requirements of the brief, our methodology and how the plan has
been shaped by the gap analysis and consultation programme.



1.1    Background

In August 2006, Planning Solutions Ltd was commissioned by the Mid Wales
Partnership to prepare a report on Central Wales Tourism Opportunities in the
context of the Wales Spatial Plan (WSP). The specific focus of the work is to identify
opportunities and requirements for enhanced inland tourism in Central Wales, as
proposed in the WSP.


The brief emphasises a focus for actions / recommendations on:


          Extending the tourism season
          Identifying key growth sectors for sustainable development
          Increasing leisure and cultural opportunities for both visitors and local
           people
          Increasing the quality of the visitor experience
          Increasing opportunities for healthy exercise
          Strengthening the area‟s sense of identity and distinctiveness
          Increasing quality of life within the area to attract and retain businesses
           and people.


The overall requirement is the production of a framework document, which will
identify and draw together current policies, programmes and priorities, and provide a
rationale and action plan for developing inland tourism in the region. Appendix 1
sets out the Project Consultees.


The first stage focused on a detailed gap analysis to research and understand the
present state of the area‟s tourism offer. The Stage 1 Report, which was presented to
a workshop of key stakeholders for comment and discussion (Workshop 1 –
Appendix 2) provides a current audit and “state of the region” review of tourism in
Central Wales. The report identified gaps in provision and barriers to the



                                           4
development of a sustainable all year round tourism product that offers potential to
bring benefits to the local economy and the quality of life for residents.


A second workshop (Workshop 2 – Appendix 3) assessed priorities and programmes
for action. The final stage of the project builds on the findings of the gap analysis and
further consultation and discussion to develop an Action Plan Framework to enhance
tourism within Central Wales. It is not a Tourism Strategy as such but a pragmatic
response to gaps and opportunities in the tourism offer. The Acton Plan Framework
sets out a realistic integrated programme of Priority Actions and Indicative Activities
to enhance and develop inland tourism in Central Wales.


The Action Plan Framework needs to be read in conjunction with the Stage 1 Report
(and Background Report), which provides the evidence base for identifying and
analysing the broad gaps where action is needed to enhance inland tourism in
Central Wales.


1.2    The Central Wales Area


The attached map (Map 1) shows the Central Wales study area as defined by the
Wales Spatial Plan (WSP).


The geographic boundary for Central Wales was determined as a result of
consultation on the original Wales Spatial Plan focusing on area characteristics and
communality.


For the purpose of the Spatial Plan, the Central Wales area has a “fuzzy” boundary –
there is no clearly defined boundary line. This does create a number of challenges,
specifically in terms of securing buy-in and commitment from the eight local authority
areas included (whole or part) within the region. Indeed, our consultation has
identified some uncertainty about the definition of the Central Wales area and some
confusion about the relationship between the Action Plan Framework and the existing
tourism plans and programmes for the area.


The area covers the largest geographical area and has the lowest population density
of all the Welsh Spatial Plan areas. It is largely rural in character and possesses a
spectacular and diverse natural environment consisting of mountain ranges – the



                                            5
Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Cambrian Mountains - forests, rivers, lakes and
coastline providing a particularly attractive place to live and visit.


Central Wales is recognised as a key strategic location in Wales, which offers some
potential for higher value inland (countryside) tourism; but at the same time is an
area of economic need.


Central Wales is identified as an area:


         That has huge potential for high quality tourism
         Which must be managed in a sustainable way to be sensitive to the
          environment
         Where leisure development should emphasise the need to improve the visitor
          experience and length of stay
         Where developments should be sensitive and low impact and build on the
          strengths of the region
         Where further innovative developments (such as the Centre for Alternative
          Technology) should be promoted.


A key objective is to build on the unique strengths and characteristics that distinguish
it from other tourism destinations. Principal amongst these is the high quality of the
natural environment, distinctive history and cultural identity.


In addition, the Action Plan Framework needs to take into account the current and
planned tourism programmes and projects that are being delivered in the area.


1.3       Our Approach


The Stage 1 report suggested a number of broad programme areas where concerted
action is needed to enhance inland tourism in Central Wales. The Action Plan
Framework builds on this evidence base, founded on statistical and survey data and
guided by the findings of a detailed programme of research and consultation.


Our approach has included:


         A review of current strategies, studies and action plans;
         A market and product overview to assess the current tourism “offer” ;


                                              6
         2 half-day workshops attended by a range of stakeholders and partners active
          in promoting and developing tourism in Central Wales;
         Consultation with industry and organisations involved in developing /
          promoting tourism and
         An assessment of the current support infrastructure in place to market and
          develop tourism in the Central Wales area.


Workshop 2, involving key partners and stakeholders, provided important input into
the Action Plan Framework, specifically in terms of agreeing the gaps and
programme areas, developing indicative activities, identifying destination hubs and
prioritising actions.




1.4       Structure of Report


The report is structured as follows:


Section 2 sets the strategic policy context and summarises the key drivers and
challenges which influence the future development of inland tourism in Central
Wales;


Section 3 outlines a broad framework for action, particularly defining core objectives;


Section 4 sets out the over-arching priority programme for developing “distinctive
destinations”;


Section 5 sets out indicative programmes and projects, and


Section 6 outlines how the action plan framework can be translated into action on the
ground in terms of priorities, funding and mechanisms for delivery.




                                             7
2.0    Key Drivers

This section outlines the “strategic fit” and policy context for the Action Plan
Framework. It places these strategic objectives in the context of the gap analysis and
key issues emerging from the consultation programme.


The section also identifies some of the key drivers, which will impact on the
development of programmes and projects to enhance inland tourism, specifically
responding to new and emerging tourism trends; characteristics of the Central Wales
region; economic and social challenges particularly those associated with the
changing nature of the rural economy. Inland tourism does not – and cannot – exist
in isolation. The section will also highlight the interrelationship between inland Central
Wales and the coast.



2.1    Policy Context: Strategic „Fit‟


The project is taking place at a time of major change in the institutional and policy
framework. The Stage 1 report sets out the strategic context, including the role and
responsibilities of the many different organisations involved in tourism.


The context for the study is provided by the Wales Tourism Strategy (Achieving our
Potential 2006-2013) and the Wales Spatial Plan, which identifies Central Wales as
an area “that has huge potential for high quality tourism.”


Achieving Our Potential identifies the future priorities for tourism in Wales and sets
out a realistic action plan to secure and encourage an effective partnership response
from the public and private sector. The vision is:


“A customer responsive, innovative, sustainable and profitable industry which makes
an increasing contribution to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-
being of Wales.”


Five strategic challenges have been identified, which provide an important framework
for the Central Wales Action Plan. These are:




                                            8
        Branding;
        Quality of accommodation and attractions;
        Accessibility;
        Skills levels, and
        Partnership


The Wales Spatial Plan identifies Central Wales as an area that “has huge potential
for high quality tourism”. The role of the plan is:


         “making sure decisions are taken with regard to their impact beyond the
         immediate sectoral or administrative boundaries; that there is co-ordination of
         investment and services through understanding the roles of and interactions
         between places and that we place the core values of sustainable
         development in everything we do.”
         WAG, People, Places, Future – The Wales Spatial Plan, November 2005


As well as providing a clear framework for future collaborative action, the Plan will
influence the location of future expenditure. The gap analysis provides the evidence
base and analysis for setting out an agenda for enhancing inland tourism to the
benefit of the local economy and local communities.

In Central Wales, the analysis of the challenges, opportunities and recommendations
will be set out in the Key Settlements and Support for Rural Areas. This work will
influence emerging and future LDPs and seek to gain a better understanding of the
role and function of key settlements, their relationship with hinterlands and the
mechanisms required to realise opportunities and counter threats to maintaining
and/or achieving sustainable communities.

The Action Plan Framework will act as the technical report feeding into the over-
arching Key Settlements document, setting out proposals for enhanced inland
tourism in Central Wales. In terms of taking forward the Action Plan Framework,
there are likely to be strong inter-relationships with other Spatial Plan areas. This
factor is particularly noticeable in the Brecon Beacons as many of the key markets
merge, particularly those in SE Wales but also those of Swansea Bay and SW
Wales.




                                             9
2.2    Drivers


Consultation with partners and industry representatives confirmed that to enable
tourism to realise its full potential in Central Wales, it must be properly developed and
managed in a sustainable way in order to avoid issues such as traffic congestion,
overcrowding, disruption to local communities and damage to sensitive areas.


Central Wales is a dynamic region, where rural communities are facing a period of
rapid change. The causes include technological development, restructuring in the
global and national economy, and the social, environmental and cultural changes that
have resulted. Tourism does have an important role in maintaining the social and
economic fabric of rural communities, e.g. in terms of supporting local services (pubs,
post offices, garages etc.)


There are a number of underlying socio-economic and environmental drivers which
will impact on the future of tourism in Central Wales. The main features include:


Continuing Re-structuring of the Rural Economy
Whilst the rural economy is benefiting from the growth of tourism, it will continue to
be impacted by the decline of agriculture and agricultural employment through the
closure of smaller farms, the greater use of machines and the diversification from
food to other activities. There is likely to be a continued increase in the size of
commercial farms and in the number of small holdings and organic farming
operations.


The quality and diversity of its landscape is a unique strength of inland Wales. A
future challenge will be to retain the care and stewardship necessary to maintain the
social, economic and well-being of inland communities. Much of the fabric of inland
rural Wales depends for its continuation upon a pool of skilled labour. The next
decade will be crucial in ensuring the continuing of these skills to develop and
manage a modern inland Wales countryside.


Demographic Changes
Population trends show an ageing demographic in the UK. The low birth rates and
higher life expectancy mean that population growth in industrial nations will be limited



                                            10
and future labour supply will be an issue, specifically in inland Wales which is
experiencing an outmigration of young people moving into urban areas.


There is a growth in the proportion of AB and C1 socio economic groups in the UK
who have a higher propensity to take holidays, particularly short breaks and
additional breaks. Central Wales does offer strong appeal to the „post family‟ age
groups with its strong walking and outdoor „product‟.


Climate Change
Scientific opinion is now agreed on a high level of probability that significant global
warming will occur during this century. This will have a significant impact on inland
Wales: there will be serous implications for biodiversity as conditions become
untenable for many species; farming activities will be affected and there are likely to
be significant shifts in farming patterns. This will impact on the special characteristics
of the Welsh countryside and landscape in the face of a continuing decline in the
number of people involved in farming the land.


Moves towards a future low carbon economy may lead to a decline in flying abroad,
which could mean areas such as Central Wales capturing the returning market.


Consumer Preferences
Changes in social attitudes mean that people place more value on the environment,
health and well-being. There will be a greater premium on the contribution (including
economic contribution) of the countryside to quality of life and therefore on the
importance of linking improved land and resource management. The Henley Centre
forecasts that in 2010, nearly 75% of expenditure will be on lifestyle/fun, compared to
65% in 1995.




2.3    The Bigger Picture: Relationship with the Coast


The focus of the study is reviewing actions to enhance inland tourism in Central
Wales. However, it is difficult to ignore the tourist influence of the coast, specifically in
terms of visitor products / activities. The vast majority of visitors to Central Wales will
experience both the coast and inland product.




                                             11
The coast of Central Wales is of great tourism significance; the coastal environment
is of very high quality providing an attractive location for holiday and leisure tourism.
There is a strong relationship between the coastal and inland tourist product:


         The coastal resorts provide a significant proportion of the accommodation
          stock, specifically caravan and camping;
         The coastal towns and resorts are important, for example as a focus for retail
          and attractions;
         Many staying visitors on the coast enjoy days out inland often including tourist
          attractions;
         The beach remains a key attraction for visitors offering a wide range of
          informal land and water based recreation opportunities.


In parallel to this study, the Coastal Tourism Strategy for Wales is being prepared,
which was identified as one of the key national actions within the Wales Spatial Plan.
Clearly, the recommendations of both studies will need to be considered in terms of
policy and programme response.


2.4       Key Issues from the Consultation


A further driver in terms of developing the Action Plan has been the comments and
issues emerging from the consultation. The main points are summarised below –
further details are included within the Stage 1 report.


         We have made reference to the fact that the term Central Wales has no
          current “tenure” in the mind of both the tourist or key intermediaries involved
          in developing and marketing tourism. There is a feeling that the geographic
          area has been imposed on partners, which has created uncertainty regarding
          the role of the WSP and developing Action plan.


         The principles of IQM are seen as being important, particularly in encouraging
          the development and implementation of a sustainable and quality orientated
          approach to tourism. This was seen as being particularly important in
          developing distinctive destinations. Quality and service is an essential
          ingredient of successful destinations.




                                              12
   Although subject to another study, partners made it clear that there needed to
    be a clear inter-relationship – in terms of product development and marketing
    – between rural Central Wales and the coast.


   Despite investment and public interventions to support tourism development,
    concerns were expressed by public agencies, specifically local authorities,
    regarding budgetary pressures to drive forward projects to enhance inland
    tourism in Central Wales. It was clear that the Framework should be used as
    a mechanism for encouraging further Public and Private investment in
    “backing winners”, that is those projects which will have a significant impact
    on the economic, environmental and social well-being of the area.


   There needs to be better integration and collaboration within existing
    structures (particularly given the recent merger of WTB into WAG) and
    between partners involved in promoting and developing tourism.


   Tourism has the potential to make a major contribution to the development of
    rural Central Wales. Consultees recognised the need to identify, develop and
    utilise customer knowledge effectively in designing future products and
    services. There needs to be a clear customer focus to enhancing the tourism
    product in inland Central Wales.




                                       13
3.0    Framework for Action

This section draws out the key themes emerging from the gap analysis and
consultation programme and sets out an agenda and set of objectives for the series
of projects to address gaps and priorities.


The section will outline project priorities, which were a focus for discussion and
agreement at the second stakeholder workshop in December.



3.1    Objectives and Priority Programmes for Inland Tourism


As set out in the previous section, the Wales Spatial Plan provides the key policy and
programme context for the study. The WSP vision for Central Wales is for:


“High quality living and working in small scale settlements set within a superb
environment, providing dynamic models of rural sustainable development
moving all sectors to higher value added activities.”


The overall aim is to maximise the contribution that the tourism sector makes to the
economic, social and environmental well-being of Central Wales. The vision is only
achievable if tourism is properly managed and channelled. An over-riding objective is
the need to build on the single most important feature of the area – namely its
outstanding natural environment and quality of life.

Our gap analysis and consultation programme has defined a number of broad
objectives to develop and enhance inland tourism. An important exercise at the
second workshop was to develop and prioritise objectives for enhancing inland
tourism in Central Wales to provide an overall framework for the Action Plan.


The objectives are set out in the attached table. The total column relates to the
scores provided at the partners‟ workshop (the lower the score the greater priority).




                                              14
Central Wales: Objectives
Objectives
                                                                         Total Rank
Increasing the quality of visitor experience and supporting                21          1
infrastructure
Increasing leisure, heritage and cultural opportunities for both          38.5         2
visitors and local people
Developing key sectors for sustainable growth                             39.5         3
Attracting high spend staying visitors                                     43          4
Extending the tourism season                                               48          5
Strengthening the area‟s senses of identity on a sub regional /            61          6
local basis


It was generally agreed that none of the objectives could be seen in isolation but
needed to be part of an integrated plan of action to build on the unique strengths and
opportunities of the area. For example, extending the tourism season is a core
objective, which is fundamental in securing actions to enhance the economic and
social impact of tourism in Central Wales


In terms of translating objectives into programmes and projects, a 17 Point Plan has
been developed under the following headings:


       Product,
       Places/Infrastructure
       People and Organisations



The table overleaf sets out the 17 Point Plan and includes a priority ranking column
agreed by partners at Workshop 2. Please note the Action Priority on developing
distinctive destinations as Tourism hubs is seen as an overarching approach and is
dealt with in Section 4 of this report.




                                            15
                   Central Wales – 17 Point Plan

Objectives                                                   Priority

Product                                                      L/M/H
                       Developing and extending the
                       activity product                          H
                       Improving quality and range of
                       accommodation sector                      H
                       Promoting and encouraging
                       innovation in Green Tourism               H
                       Encouraging investment in the
                       attractions sector                        M
                       Restoring, extending and enhancing
                       the network of recreation trails          M

Places/Infrastucture
                       Developing distinctive destinations
                       as tourism 'hubs'                         H
                       Improving the retail, catering and
                       evening economy                           M
                       Secure investment in appropriate
                       infrastructure development to
                       improve accessibility                     M
                       Improving transport provision to
                       meet the needs of visitors and
                       residents                                 M
                       Developing and promoting events to
                       extend the season and attract new
                       visitors                                  M
People and
Organisations
                       Secure ongoing training and
                       workforce development                     H
                       Integrating tourism within
                       community regeneration                    H
                       Coordinating delivery of information
                       provision incorporating ICT               M
                       Securing effective industry
                       participation                             M
                       Providing effective leadership and
                       integration amongst public and
                       voluntary agencies                        M
                       Coordinating appropriate branding,
                       marketing and promotion                   M
                       Improving market intelligence, data
                       collection and dissemination              M
                       Score High Priority 16-21, Medium 10-15


                                     16
3.2       Rationale


The framework provides a mechanism to enhance tourism in inland Central Wales
through an innovative and co-ordinated programme of activities that will help to build
a competitive tourism product and create a competitive sub-region.


The rationale and key considerations underlying the action programme are:


         Meeting an identified “gap” or opportunity
         Meeting one or more of the objectives for enhancing tourism in inland Central
          Wales
         Building on good practice
         Customer driven
         Commitment to quality through embracing IQM
         Financially sustainable
         Environmentally sustainable
         Making the best use of limited financial resources




                                            17
4.0    Distinctive Destinations: Tourist „Hubs‟


 A priority activity identified during consultation is the development of a
 network of major centres or “tourist hubs” in the area. The objective is to
 develop a network of key destinations, which will become a focus for
 investment to promote and support visitor activity.




4.1    Rationale


Inland Central Wales has some important key settlements of regional and national
significance and broader branded destinations, such as Snowdonia and the Brecon
Beacons.


The Key Settlements study aims to review and assess the current mosaic and scale
of key settlements in Central Wales and develop a framework to enhance their
attractiveness as places in which to live, work and visit, whilst improving links with
surrounding communities. The study will identify future opportunities for development
for the benefit of the resident population and the Central Wales area as a whole.


There is broad consensus to use a similar approach to identify key tourist “hubs”
linked to settlements as a focus for coordinated action and investment.


An important starting point is to ask which tourist settlements exist in Central Wales
which are of international, national, regional and local significance. There are lots of
places/products that command attention and authority but they do not necessarily
have “brand destination” status. There is a need to be honest in this assessment and
prioritise interventions and investment in those hubs that have greatest appeal and
potential.




                                           18
The suggested criteria for defining tourist hubs include:


       Clear “sense of place”
       Existing honey-pot for visitor activity
       Tourism industry already of economic importance as a driver for local
        regeneration
       Opportunities for enhanced sustainable tourism development
       Local commitment – from both the business and local community – to
        enhance tourism
       Existence of core elements of the tourism product including
            o    Stock of serviced and/or unserviced accommodation
            o    At least one major attractor / event
            o    Accessibility by public transport


In addition, the hub is likely to be identified as a priority area for regeneration and
renewal linked to a key settlement within the Wales Spatial Plan.


Discussions with stakeholders identified a number of priority hubs for co-ordinated
tourist promotion and development:


    Priority Tourists Hubs (not in priority order):


            a. Brecon Beacons N P with a particular focus on Brecon
            b. Snowdonia NP with a particular focus on Blaenau Ffestiniog,
                 Porthmadog, Betws y Coed and Dollgellau
            c. Dyfi Valley with a particular focus on Machynlleth
            d. Cardigan Bay with a particular focus on Aberystwyth
            e. Severn Valley with a particular focus on Welshpool
            f.   Teifi Valley with a particular focus on Cardigan
            g. Cambrian Mountains
            h. Upper Dee Valley / Vale of Clwyd with a particular focus on Llangollen
                 (TBC)
These are based on recognised, distinctive areas of high quality landscapes such as
mountains, river valleys and coast. In addition the emerging area of the Cambrian
Mountains is capable of becoming a strengthened area based destination. Other
potential hubs that fit the criteria may be identified in the future as part of
regeneration plan development, these will be considered as they arise.


                                             19
The WSP – and the planning system in general – has a critical role to play in
maximising the economic and employment benefit of tourism, whilst at the same time
improving and safeguarding the environment and interest of the local community.


Co-ordinated destination visitor management plans should be developed and
implemented to direct and develop tourism development. Critically, the plans should
integrate with regeneration priorities for the areas. In addition, the plans need to be
sufficiently flexible and responsive to responds to changing tourist trends and market
demands.


The development of tourism hubs will offer the sector a clear focus for development,
operational and promotional activities which will help to provide a more tourism
focused service.


The main hubs should be aligned as far as possible into wider regeneration and Key
Settlement programmes. There should also be an integrated approach, working in
close collaboration with providers and services within the wider destination area to
ensure benefits are spread to a broad industry base, including businesses based in
more remote locations.


      Consider regeneration programmes for major hubs
      Develop management plans for each hub to include new development
       opportunities and priority requirements for enhanced, higher value, visitor
       services and facilities
      Establish priorities for smaller villages and centres under the larger umbrella
       destinations
      Agree effective destination marketing strategies for hubs
      Develop transport hubs / gateways to support and encourage more
       sustainable provision for tourists and local communities




                                           20
5.0     Action Framework: Programmes & Indicative Activities

This section sets out a series of indicative activities that will respond to the gap
analysis and opportunities to enhance and develop inland tourism in Central Wales.
A standard approach has been adopted to present the rationale for each indicative
activity.


It is important that proposed activities are deliverable and can be effectively
monitored (in line with SMART criteria). We refer to broad measures for monitoring
within each Priority Activity and also outline a proposed approach to monitoring in
Section 6.4.




                                            21
Action Priorities
Product


ACTION PRIORITY     1. Developing and extending the activity product in
(Product)           Central Wales


Rationale           Consultation has shown strong support from
                    organisations and the industry to continue to make the
                    activity sector a major focus for tourism in Central Wales
                    in terms of priorities for marketing and product
                    development. There is also recognition of the potential
                    benefits of a strong active recreation sector for the local
                    population in terms of healthy living and improved
                    amenities.


                    Planned developments such as the Snowdonia Gateway
                    Project could have a significant impact on the activity
                    market and provide a catalyst for further development in
                    the wider sub region.


                    There is a continued need to improve the
                    competitiveness and professionalism (with a greater
                    year round focus) of the existing sector which is still
                    characterised by many independent, lifestyle
                    businesses.


                    It is important to ensure any new development is
                    sustainable and allows adequate resources for
                    maintenance costs.


                    Central Wales has an exceptional natural environment
                    which lends itself to activity sports both in terms of
                    adrenaline based sports (particularly in Snowdonia & the
                    Brecon Beacons) and also quiet recreation (including
                    walking and cycling) in the more undulating areas in the
                    remainder of the region. There may also be



                                  22
opportunities to link with the coastal region to offer a
wider „activity package.‟


Within Central Wales, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons
National Parks have established reputations in the
activity sector and there are a number of initiatives and
business clusters which have helped to improve market
awareness and coordinate available facilities and
services.


There remains a predominance of centres, courses and
accommodation catering for the educational and youth
group market which have formed the historical mainstay
of the activity market in Central Wales having evolved
mainly from the outward bound sector.


The independent adult market has developed and grown
to represent a major short break market for a range of
specialist activities, supported by an increasing number
of activity based events. However despite recognition
and selective investment in the activity product in
Central Wales (including various Objective 1, TGA and
Section 4 capital funded projects and specialist events,
such as for example Penlan Outdoor Activity Centre and
Llandysul Paddlers Canoe Centre) the product and
promotional packaging have failed to keep pace with the
emerging market opportunities, with a general lack of
sophistication in the activity product offer. The Region
already boasts Centres of Excellence with the Plas y
Brenin mountain centre, Coed y Brenin mountain bike
centre and Tryweryn National Whitewater centre. It is
important to maximise the tourism potential of these and
consider development of other national and regional
centres for specialist activities, including for example
sailing at Bala, horse riding in Brecon Beacons, walking
& cycling in and around Rhayader (incorporating links to



             23
                        National Trails), Angling in inland water bodies and
                        rivers.


                        Specifically in terms of golf, golf in Wales is receiving a
                        major boost from its staging of the Ryder Cup in 2010.
                        For Central Wales to gain from this it is important that
                        operators in the region continue to work together and
                        participate in the increased marketing and promotion
                        activity led by VisitWales including Driving Challenge
                        and other campaigns.




Indicative Activities       1. Ensure that the RTPs and marketing consortia
                                  work effectively to create a clear, flexible and
                                  accessible product which is able to grow as a
                                  market leading destination for this diverse but
                                  dynamic sector.


                            2. Ensure that the development of tourism hubs
                                  fully embraces the activity sector, with a clear
                                  focus        for    development,       operational    and
                                  promotional activities.


                            3. Maintain and encourage re-investment in the
                                  existing mountain bike hubs which are widely
                                  considered          as   market      leading     specialist
                                  destinations.


                            4. Explore the potential to introduce dedicated
                                  accommodation            and   other    facilities   where
                                  appropriate (for both groups and independent
                                  travellers)        including   the     development      of
                                  specialist centres of excellence in designated
                                  locations.


                            5. Seek to raise profile of region for specialist



                                          24
   activity through the hosting of major sports
   based events.


6. Where environmentally and socially acceptable,
   support provision of high quality service facilities
   such as wash rooms, safe storage, briefing
   rooms and in some cases catering.           Where
   possible exploit potential to provide viewing
   opportunities for non-participating relatives and
   friends as well as general visitors.


7. Explore opportunities for emerging adventure
   activities to help build the sector alongside
   existing core activities and maintain it as a
   market leader in the UK.


8. Encourage better presentation and access to
   specialist activity services and niche products
   for both tourists and residents with a focus for
   those operating on a year round basis.            This
   could include the development /rationalisation of
   web based applications with priority information
   provision from a centralised source for the
   Region or sub-regions.


9. Extend the development and promotion of
   existing national centres of excellence in the
   Region as drivers for active recreation.


10. Implement    the   national   Golf    Strategy     to
   encourage further investment and marketing of
   the golf product in the Region.




        25
“Strategic Fit”             Achieving Our Potential
                            RTP strategies
                            Local Tourism and Economic Development Strategies
                            Action Plan for the Countryside Experience
                            Sports Tourism in Wales
                            Individual activity strategies
Links to other indicative   2,3,5,6,7,9,10,11,12
activities
Key Partners (including     RTPs
“lead”)                     VisitWales
                            National Park Authorities
                            Local Authorities
                            CCW
                            EA
                            Governing Bodies for relevant sports activities
Timeframe                   Years 1-5
Indicative outcomes         Increase in number of activity tourism trips,
                            Increase in value of activity tourism spend
                            Increase in product investment
                            Increase in brand awareness for destinations within
                            Region
                            Improved local community amenities
Compatibility with SA       Bio-diversity SA Objective
                            Healthy communities SA Objective
                            Vibrant & diversified economy SA Objective
Monitoring                  Value and volume of specialist visitors by activity and
                            season
                            Monitor economic impacts, e.g. job creation




                                         26
                  2. Improving the quality and range of the
ACTION PRIORITY
(Product)
                  accommodation stock




Rationale         Improving and maintaining a high quality of
                  accommodation stock is crucial to enhance inland
                  tourism and attract higher spending staying visitors.
                  Currently the range, type and quality of accommodation
                  in Central Wales is mixed. There are strong indicators
                  that the accommodation product could be improved to
                  create an improved fit with the needs of growth markets
                  and more discerning visitors.


                  The majority of serviced accommodation stock is found
                  in the 2-star quality rating category (35% of hotels, 43%
                  of B&Bs) and 3-star quality rating (30% of hotels and
                  33% of B&Bs); there are a limited number of 4 and 5-
                  star establishments in the Region.


                  Non-serviced accommodation includes good quality self-
                  catering and a high proportion of caravan / camping
                  sites specifically located on the coast.


                  The gap analysis highlighted the following:
                        spare capacity in some areas, reflecting type and
                         quality
                        lack of tourist accommodation (notably modern,
                         purpose built facilities) directly linked to the
                         activity product
                        significant levels of ungraded accommodation
                        lack of high quality self catering provision
                        lack   of   high   quality   inland   camping    and
                         caravanning sites (particularly outside National
                         Parks)
                        limited provision of quality characteristic serviced



                                27
          accommodation including boutique hotels with/
          without spa
         lack of innovative accommodation products
         shortage of population base to generate VFR
          market


Of all the regions in Wales, Mid Wales recorded the
lowest room occupancy levels at 52%; the average
room occupancy rate in Wales in 2005 was 57%. Non-
graded establishments recorded lower occupancy
levels.


The low occupancy rates for serviced accommodation
suggest that there may be an oversupply, but evidence
also suggests that quality is a critical issue. Low
occupancy levels do have a limiting effect on the ability
of accommodation providers to re-invest in the product.


It is apparent that the accommodation base in Central
Wales is dispersed with relatively few examples of
significant inland clusters.


In order to compete effectively independent and/or
remote accommodation businesses need to target and
serve growth markets (including short breaks, activity
based trips and other niche sectors, including culture
and heritage tourism).


A further market of strong potential for Central Wales is
business tourism including the pan Wales conference
market which often looks for centrally located meeting
venues. Whilst there are some existing examples of
hotels with ancillary facilities serving this trade, notably
in Aberystwth and Llandrindod Wells, there is a lack of
accommodation suitable for conferences of 20+ to meet
the need of this potential growth sector.



               28
Indicative Activities   1. Continue     to   actively    encourage       a   higher
                           proportion of accommodation establishments to
                           participate in approved accreditation schemes
                           across the region. Consider possible incentives
                           and direct benefits, offered to participants.


                        2. Explore the potential of creating or endorsing a
                           Trip Advisor rating service for accommodation
                           (serviced and self-catering) in Central Wales.


                        3. Investigate potential for retaining and enhancing
                           the current national capital grant scheme with
                           specific     investment      fund    programme        for
                           (serviced)     accommodation          upgrades        and
                           targeted new product development capable of
                           serving identified growth markets.


                        4. Look to further roll out and expand the
                           programme of IQM across the region to help
                           improve the performance of the sector.                 A
                           visitors‟ welcome scheme for destinations who
                           have engaged with IQM as part of their
                           development could be considered.


                        5. Linking with recognised green accreditation
                           schemes, look to encourage green credentials of
                           accommodation        operators       to     respond    to
                           increasing     interest      among        consumers    in
                           environmental and sustainability issues, with a
                           view to making Central Wales a market leader
                           Green Tourism destination.


                        6. In collaboration with major landholders such as
                           the Forestry Commission and utility companies
                           evaluate potential to introduce specialist activity



                                29
                                 based accommodation modules.


                             7. Promote and encourage targeted new and
                                 innovative products in appropriate locations
                                 within the region to drive key markets.


                             8. Encourage        greater   collaboration   between
                                 accommodation and other tourism providers (in
                                 accordance with Package Travel Regulations
                                 1992), particularly in the activity sector but also
                                 in terms of attractions, retail and catering
                                 providers.      This could include initiatives to
                                 provide improved packaging of tourism breaks.
                                 This also applies to trips with multiple locations
                                 either in terms of dual destinations or touring
                                 based holidays.


“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Wales Spatial Plan
                          Local authority development plans
                          Winning Mid Wales
                          RTP strategies
Links to other projects   1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12
Key Partners (including   WAG (DE & T)
“lead”)                   RTPs
                          Local authorities
                          Tourist associations
                          Private Sector


Timeframe                 On-going
Indicative outcomes       Increase in occupancy levels
                          Increase in number of staying visitors
                          Increase in tourism spend
                          Higher proportion of graded establishments
Compatibility with SA     Limited impact of physical development, particularly with
                          focus on improvements to existing stock / conversions.



                                       30
             Vibrant & diversified economy SA Objective
Monitoring   Annual review / evaluation of grant and/or loan
             programmes
             Regular monitoring review of sector investment by
             category of accommodation




                          31
                  3. Promoting and encouraging innovation in green
ACTION PRIORITY
(Product)
                  tourism


Rationale         There appears to be a „sea-change‟ emerging in
                  consumer attitudes to understanding and acting upon
                  their „tourist carbon‟ (and overall environmental) foot-
                  print. This could lead to a significant increase in
                  domestic short breaks in the UK (as pressure grows on
                  people to reduce the number of budget flights taken
                  abroad) and also result in an increase in countryside
                  eco-friendly holidays.


                  Central Wales which already boasts several examples
                  of good practice (CAT, Llanidloes/Machynlleth,
                  Brecon/Snowdonia) is well placed to respond to these
                  changing attitudes by taking „green tourism‟ a step
                  further and developing, packaging and promoting itself
                  as a green and sustainable region. The unspoilt nature
                  of large parts of the region provides an excellent base
                  resource on which to capitalise in a coordinated and
                  sustainable way with destination hubs able to adopt an
                  eco-friendly label.


                  To develop as a Green Destination and satisfy visitor
                  expectations in this respect, there needs to be
                  investment in sustainability. In particular there will be a
                  need to address a range of issues in an integrated way:-
                  sustainable transport; recycling; energy efficiency; use
                  of local food; conservation management of biodiversity
                  and protected landscapes; green management of public
                  and private organisations.


                  Watching wildlife is one area which is a notable strength
                  of the region. These activities are often subject to
                  different patterns of seasonality to the general market


                               32
                        offering significant opportunities for boosting year round
                        tourism flows in conjunction with appropriate product
                        development, packaging and information.


                        The use of the private car dominates tourism visits and
                        there is a limited public transport system serving Central
                        Wales.




Indicative Activities      1. Maintain local environment quality and manage
                                 tourism           flows    with     particular     attention   to
                                 controlling throughput to honeypot destinations
                                 at peak times.


                           2. Consider projects to reduce the impact of private
                                 cars and greater promotion of alternative means
                                 of transport either to and/or within the holiday
                                 destination.


                           3. Encourage more staying visitors in relation to
                                 day trippers.


                           4. Encourage tourism providers to adopt a green
                                 policy        (in     line        with    recognised       green
                                 accreditation schemes) and continue to promote
                                 Green        Tourism         awards       to     best   practice
                                 operators.                This may require a financial
                                 incentive from the public sector.


                           5. Working alongside local farmers, growers and
                                 other        producers,        encourage         greater   local
                                 purchasing schemes and retail and catering
                                 offers       to     minimise       food    miles    and    other
                                 transported goods. Major strides have already
                                 been made at a regional and local level in this
                                 respect.



                                         33
                             6. Investigate innovative partnering arrangements
                                 such as destination based car hire/car pooling
                                 where possible using eco-friendly vehicles.


                             7. Explore ways to develop and market watching
                                 wildlife as part of the central Wales tourism
                                 product offer.


“Strategic Fit”           The Environment Strategy
                          Sustainable Development Strategy
                          Rural Development Plan
                          Achieving Our Potential
                          Action Plan for the Countryside Experience
Links to other projects   1-12
Key Partners (including   WAG
“lead”)                   TPMW
                          Mid Wales Agri Food Partnership
                          Environment Agency
                          Local authorities
                          CCW
                          National Parks
Timeframe                 On-going
Indicative outcomes       Increase use of alternative transport
                          Participation in recognised green accreditation schemes


Compatibility with SA     Category 3 project – no action required
Monitoring                Annual Green Tourism Audit




                                       34
                  4. Encouraging appropriate investment in the
ACTION PRIORITY
(Product)
                  attractions‟ sector




Rationale          The attractions‟ sector in Central Wales has a strong
                   dependence on small attractions with the vast majority
                   recording less than 50,000 visits in 2005 (Source
                   VisitWales). During the 1990s, the number of tourist
                   attractions doubled in Wales from 300-600; overall
                   however, total demand for the attractions sector has
                   remained static.


                   Major iconic tourism attractions can have significant
                   drawing-power, serving as a catalyst and motivator for
                   tourist to travel to a particular destination as well as
                   serving visitors who are in the area on general breaks.
                   They can also act as a focal point for the local
                   community and engender local pride.


                   Central Wales has a diverse range of visitor attractions,
                   the large majority of them associated with the area‟s
                   landscape, history, heritage and culture. The gap
                   analysis indicated that whilst the area has a wide range
                   of heritage, community and environmental facilities, it
                   has a limited number of high profile visitor attractions of
                   a scale to become attractors in their own right. In
                   addition the analysis identified:
                          Lack of high profile, iconic attractions;
                          Majority are seasonal and weather dependent
                          Business performance is varied;
                          Lack of investment to up-grade and improve
                           competitiveness (the fact that over 40% are
                           public sector owned may be a limiting factor).
                           There is a need to encourage investment /
                           innovation in existing attractions;



                                 35
                              There is potential for a limited number of new
                               attractions located close to main tourist hubs;
                              There are further opportunities for collaborative
                               marketing, building on the work of partners (e.g.
                               MWT),


                        Overall there is a limited range of interesting,
                        entertaining and informative visitor attractions which are
                        open on a year round basis in Central Wales.




Indicative Activities      1. Encourage selective investment into existing
                               attractions, with priority to those which open year
                               round and offer wet weather facilities, to maintain
                               their    competitiveness    and    to   respond   to
                               increasing customer desire for high quality and
                               environmentally friendly visitor experiences.


                           2. Explore the mechanisms of achieving support for
                               the attractions' sector to improve their product
                               and marketing.


                           3. Consider selective opportunities for new, market
                               led, innovative (and iconic) attractions but only
                               where long term sustainability can be proven.


                           4. Support       appropriate   workforce    development
                               programmes, for example using downtime during
                               shoulder season to carry out training initiatives in
                               key operational areas e.g. marketing. This could
                               help to improve staff retention levels.


                           5. Develop „audit tool kit‟ for attractions to carry out
                               quality assessment but also look at new
                               opportunities to generate revenue (e.g. catering,
                               retail, special events, membership schemes)



                                       36
                             6. Linking with recognised green accreditation
                                 schemes, look to encourage green credentials of
                                 attraction operators to respond to increasing
                                 interest among consumers in environmental and
                                 sustainability issues.


                             7. Examine        potential   for   annual   performance
                                 survey to benchmark attractions and identify best
                                 practice.


                             8. Encourage existing attractions to work together
                                 on joint marketing and promotional activities but
                                 also on joint ticketing to create a „cluster‟ of
                                 attractions for visitors (in accordance with
                                 Package Travel Regulations).             The holiday
                                 market on the coast is important for the
                                 attractions market inland. Marketing strategies
                                 for inland attractions should work seamlessly
                                 with coastal marketing initiatives.


                             9. Examine potential for creating short break
                                 attractions‟ packages, particularly outside main
                                 season,     with    accommodation        &   transport
                                 providers eg. heritage based breaks.




“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Cultural Tourism Strategy
Links to other projects   2,3,7,8,9,10,11,12
Key Partners (including   WAG
“lead”)                   RTPs
                          CADW
                          National Trust
                          Tourist Associations
Timeframe                 1-5 Years



                                      37
Indicative outcomes     Increase in visitor numbers of sector
                        Improve overall satisfaction ratings
                        Increase investment in attractions product
                        Increase employment (full time, year round)
                        Increase in average number of weeks attractions
                        operate per annum
                        Range of positive indicators obtained from
                        benchmarking data


Compatibility with SA   Limited impact of physical development, particularly with
                        focus on improvements to existing attractions.
                        Vibrant & diversified economy SA Objective


Monitoring              Annual review of visits to attractions, including
                        satisfaction surveys
                        Investment monitor in sector




                                     38
                        5. Maintain, extend and enhance the network of
ACTION PRIORITY
(Product)
                        tourism trails




Rationale                   Exceptional landscapes for walking, cycling and
                            horse riding are real strengths of the Central Wales
                            region. The quality, accessibility and range of public
                            rights of way represent an essential resource to
                            meet the needs of these users, both in terms of
                            specialist walkers/cyclists/riders and the general
                            /occasional market.


                            There exists a mature network of footpaths,
                            bridleways and trails across the Region with 2 of
                            only 3 National Trails in Wales (15 in the UK)
                            running through the region. Many routes are
                            suitable for older visitors and all ability users
                            although it is essential that adequate information on
                            route length, gradients and difficulty is presented in
                            easily obtainable form.


                            There is a recognised need to maintain and improve
                            the recreation route network and create additional
                            link sections for tourist trails and local use as the
                            activity product and related services develop. There
                            is also an opportunity to utilise the network of trails
                            for tourists to manage and disperse visitor flows,
                            specifically from major honeypots. However there is
                            also an issue of ongoing maintenance of the existing
                            network in the face of diminishing budgets.




Indicative Activities       1. There is a need to ensure the higher profile trails
                                are maintained with excellent information and
                                waymarking and that a high percentage of all



                                      39
   other designated public trails are accessible.
   There is also a need to coordinate marketing and
   promotion of recreational trails in the Region.


2. Spending on existing and developing networks
   and trails needs to be prioritised and targeted
   alongside continued lobbying to maintain and
   enhance available budgets.


3. Working        with     partners     including    CCW,
   opportunities to improve and extend public rights
   of way (including trails for less mobile persons)
   particularly between tourist centres and major
   destination hubs should be examined and
   prioritised.     In our view as destination and
   specialist activity hubs become more established
   then there will be a need to ensure that the
   location and quality of recreational routes (both
   linear and circular paths) are in place to provide
   links between complementary resources and
   services, including attractions and cultural points
   and places of interest.


4. Enhance and build upon the dedicated websites
   for major trails (such as Offa‟s Dyke Path and
   Glyndwr‟s Way managed by CCW) and ensure
   that information on other trails as appropriate is
   developed       in    line   with   other   web   based
   information systems.


5. Plans to develop and promote a coastal footpath
   for all of Wales have implications for Central
   Wales.     Opportunities to create circular routes
   inland from the main coastal path should also be
   considered       and     a    programme      of   routes
   introduced.



         40
                              6. Support planning will need to be incorporated
                                  such    as    information   services,   signposting,
                                  adequate car parking, refreshments and public
                                  conveniences       to   improve   accessibility   and
                                  usability of the recreational route network.


                          The Cambrian Mountains is an emerging destination
                          and recreational trails could form a critical element of
                          the tourist package – it is important to ensure that trails
                          are properly managed, maintained and marketed to
                          optimise this potential.
“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Action for the Countryside
                          Rural Development Plan
                          Transport Strategies
Links to other projects   1,3,6, 9,10
Key Partners (including   WAG
“lead”)                   Local Authority Countryside & Rights of Way Depts.
                          Local Authority Highways Authorities and Planning
                          Departments
                          CCW (incl.National Trail Officers)
                          National Park Authorities
Timeframe                 2-5 years
Indicative outcomes       Increase proportion of main existing recreation routes
                          which are accessible in their entirety
                          Increase proportion of main recreation routes which are
                          accessible for disabled users
                          Increase tourist trips year round
Compatibility with SA     Positive in respect of all SEA objectives
Monitoring                Audit of accessible trails (at least every 3 years)
                          Annual Condition Surveys / Annual satisfaction surveys
                          Wales National Access Register
                          Investment monitor of funds directed towards
                          recreational trails




                                         41
Places / Infrastructure

                            6. Improving the retail / catering / evening economy
ACTION PRIORITY
(Places / Infrastructure)


Rationale                   In many rural locations across the region there is a
                            limited provision of high quality retail and catering
                            experiences for visitors. General service provision can
                            also be „patchy‟ in terms of shops, cafes etc. The gap
                            analysis identified a lack of an evening economy in
                            some areas which represents a relatively important
                            element of the tourism product (currently missing from
                            many areas within Central Wales). This is particularly
                            apparent during the shoulder periods and is driven to a
                            large extent by a lack of market demand (both local and
                            tourist).


                            The quality and service of the retail and catering offer
                            and the evening economy can be critical factors in the
                            fulfilment of „sense of place‟ for the tourist. Equally the
                            relationship between the host population and the visitor
                            market is key in the development of appropriate retail
                            and service facilities.




Indicative Activities          1. Encourage more flexible opening hours of existing
                                   providers (including for example petrol stations)
                                   and also ensure more effective information
                                   provision      on    the   availability   of   facilities,
                                   particularly    in   remote    areas.     Consider    the
                                   possibility of some form of incentive scheme to
                                   engage the private sector.


                               2. Shops should be encouraged to promote and sell
                                   local branded produce which could be used to
                                   showcase the excellent regional produce on offer



                                          42
   to visitors and members of the local community
   and act as a point of interest in its own right which
   enhances local distinctiveness.


3. Build on the innovative Local Food Talks initiative
   in the Region currently being piloted by TPMW
   FMDD,       possibly   linking   in   with   destination
   development.


4. Work with existing craft producers in the area to
   encourage the production of high quality craft
   products which could be tied in with regional or
   destination brands in the Region.              Tourism
   businesses should also be encouraged to utilise
   local arts and crafts products in their business to
   foster and contribute to local identity.


5. Retail areas in visitor attractions should be
   encouraged to stock and sell local brand goods
   and products.


6. Encourage the development of “gourmet breaks”
   particularly at „restaurants with bedrooms‟ in line
   with the growing trend. This is becoming a more
   common concept in the UK, often linked with
   award winning restaurants.


7. Investigate the potential to encourage more local
   businesses/communities to produce web based
   material within the overall information provision for
   a destination or region.


8. Pilot a shop-front grant scheme in main tourist
   hubs to improve the public realm and retail offer.
   This should be linked to the development of more
   customer focused operating times and should tie



          43
                                 in with the Key Settlements study linking to wider
                                 regeneration priorities.


“Strategic Fit”           Community Strategies
                          Achieving Our Potential
                          Local Authority Development Plans
                          Wales a Vibrant Economy
Links to other projects   1,2,7,8,9,10,12
Key Partners (including   RTPs
“lead”)                   NPAs Mid Wales Tourism and other industry
                          associations
                          DE & T
                          Local Authority Planning and Economic Development
                          Depts.
                          Local Community Groups
Timeframe                 On-going
Indicative outcomes       Increase tourism contribution to the community
                          Higher level of repeat visits
                          Retention of income within the local economy
                          Increase profitability of retail/catering businesses (and
                          reduce business failures)
                          Increased employment opportunities
Compatibility with SA     Mainly Category 3 initiatives.
Monitoring                Investment monitor for town / village centres
                          Survey of local perceptions, possibly in conjunction with
                          Local Authority Resident Satisfaction Surveys




                                         44
                            7. Improving transport provision to meet the needs of
ACTION PRIORITY
(Places / Infrastructure)
                            visitors and local residents and secure investment in
                            appropriate infrastructure development to improve
                            accessibility




Rationale                    Overall there appears to be a lack of integration
                             between public transport provision and needs of visitors
                             not just in Central Wales but in the UK as a whole. The
                             viability and funding of rural public transport is a
                             complex area which is being addressed by the Regional
                             Transport Plan as part of the WSP process. Public
                             transport tends to serve local needs and it is critical that
                             future transport planning fully integrates the tourist
                             sector as it is recognised that the combined use by
                             residents and tourists can help to justify more and better
                             services.


                             There needs to be a strong link with key centres/hubs
                             and a focussing of resources to achieve maximum
                             impact. Initiatives like the Beacons Bus service (and
                             indeed examples outside the area such as in
                             Pembrokeshire) have shown how tourism and local
                             transport can be linked effectively.


                             There is an issue over a lack of awareness/visitor
                             information among tourists on public transport provision.




Indicative Activities          1. Look to support the further development such as
                                   Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons (bus initiatives)
                                   and the Trawscambria initiative (a network of
                                   interlinked high quality bus routes).            Look to
                                   expand the experience of those initiatives to
                                   benefit the rest of the region, particularly around


                                            45
                                tourism hubs. This is particularly relevant in the
                                attempted move towards a sustainable tourism
                                product.


                            2. Subject to establishing the tourist use of current
                                services, encourage the increased frequency of
                                existing rail services at appropriate times for
                                leisure use on both the Heart of Wales and
                                Cambrian lines.


                            3. Look to improve the level of information on
                                available transport alternatives for the tourism
                                market both before and during the tourist trip.


                            4. Review existing recreational routes (particularly
                                around tourism and activity hubs) to assess any
                                current gaps in provision in order to encourage
                                the increased usage of alternative means of
                                transport, such as cycling and walking, during
                                tourist stays.


                            5. Consider potential to create specific rural tourist
                                routes in appropriate parts of the region working
                                closely     with   tourism   providers   in   strategic
                                locations, including for example the further
                                development of „Food Trails‟.


                            6. Encourage appropriate investment into transport
                                hubs in line with the Transport Plan.


“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Wales a Vibrant Economy
                          Regional Transport Plan
Links to other projects   1-8, 10
Key Partners (including   WAG
“lead”)                   Community Rail Partnership



                                       46
                        Industry Associations
                        RTPs
                        Local Authority Highways and Transportation
                        NPAs
                        Trawscambria Initiative
                        TRACC


Timeframe               On-going (recognition of longer term timeframe for
                        infrastructure investment)


Indicative outcomes     Increase use of public transport by tourists
                        Improved public transport links and facilities
                        Increase in public transport provision designed around
                        the needs of visitors


Compatibility with SA   Positive impacts:
                        Air quality SA Objective


Monitoring              Increase in public transport usage
                        Increase in number of public transport schemes




                                     47
                            8. Promoting events to extend the tourism season
ACTION PRIORITY
(Places / Infrastructure)
                            and attract new visitors




Rationale                    TPMW has identified the important role of events in
                             generating off season tourism business. Events can
                             help to establish a region as a destination in its own
                             right. Events also offer an opportunity to showcase local
                             distinctiveness.


                             Whilst the Region does boast some major internationally
                             renowned events (such as The Hay Festival, Brecon
                             Jazz, Llangollen International Festival and The Royal
                             Welsh Show), there are a limited number of examples
                             of major strategic events capable of drawing significant
                             levels of staying visitors.


                             There are a significant number of smaller events across
                             the Region which offer interesting experiences for
                             members of the local community and visitors
                             predominantly drawn to the region by other motivating
                             factors. The majority of these events are-
                                    small scale with minor tourism benefits
                                    operated mainly during main tourist season
                                    Managed and run by volunteers and community
                                     groups often with limited funding.


                             There also appears to be a lack of co-ordinated
                             information available for events in the Region.




Indicative Activities            1. Examine the potential to extend the existing
                                     regional    events    database       and   website
                                     (www.midwalesevents.co.uk), preferably linked
                                     to coordinated information on events at a


                                           48
   national level.


2. Develop the event tool kit (produced by TPMW)
   for organisers for use across the wider Region.
   Further promote web based advice for event
   organisers.


3. Carry out a review and audit of events in the
   Region to prepare an events strategy for inland
   Wales.      Analyse existing events (including
   culture and sports) to identify opportunities for
   rationalisation of the events‟ calendar to help
   promote appropriate large scale events capable
   of attracting new and overnight staying tourists
   (which also appeal to members of the local
   community).


4. Target available public sector funding towards
   events which help to extend the tourist season,
   events which have the strongest potential to
   reinforce the core brand value(s) for the region
   (and its sub destinations) and those which have
   the potential to generate additional bed nights
   and provide wider tourism benefits. It will also
   be important to consider if there is potential
   media interest and if the tourism infrastructure is
   adequate to cope with the event.


5. Encourage         collaboration   amongst    event
   organisers and other operators within the tourism
   industry to reduce duplication of events and to
   offer better range of events‟ packages including
   accommodation.


6. Explore greater year round use of existing event
   show grounds within the Region to host new



        49
                                 events


                             7. Opportunities to develop events or festivals
                                 which showcase modern contemporary Welsh
                                 arts should be explored as these can help to
                                 build a strong, positive sense of place.


                             8. Develop better communication and co-ordination
                                 via information network to ensure event related
                                 information and initiatives are communicated on
                                 local and county levels.      Develop appropriate
                                 linkages with neighbouring areas to maximize
                                 the    opportunities    which     are      presented,
                                 particularly in terms of marketing initiatives.


                             9. New events which seek public sector support
                                 should need to demonstrate that they are
                                 environmentally and economically sustainable
                                 and benefit the local community through meeting
                                 specific social and economic objectives (e.g. do
                                 they provide employment opportunities, help
                                 extend the tourist season, do they positively add
                                 to the critical mass of the tourism product, are
                                 they accessible by public transport?)


“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          RTP strategies
                          Mid Wales Events Strategies
                          Local Authority Event Strategies (where applicable)
                          Cultural Tourism Strategy
                          Community Plans


Links to other projects   1,2,3,4,6,7,9,10,14
Key Partners (including   TPMW,
“lead”)                   WAG/VisitWales
                          Local Authority Tourism Departments



                                       50
                        Event organisers
Timeframe               1-7 years
Indicative outcomes     Increased attendances by visitors and locals
                        Number of strategic off season events and festivals
Compatibility with SA   Category 3
Monitoring              Audit and review of events calendar
                        Regular visitor satisfaction surveys
                        Assessment of number of visitors attending events




                                     51
People and Organisations

                           9. Secure ongoing training / workforce development
ACTION PRIORITY
(People & Organisations)
                           and address issues of recruitment and retention in
                           the tourism sector


Rationale                  Developing and improving the product on the ground is
                           essential; this is not just about bricks and mortar of new
                           facilities but it is also about equipping people and
                           businesses to deliver and develop a quality service.
                           People employed in the tourism sector tend to be less
                           well qualified and lower skilled than in other sectors and
                           the industry generally has a poor record in providing
                           training and career development. The situation is
                           compounded in Central Wales by the nature of the
                           industry which is dominated by large numbers of micro
                           and lifestyle businesses.


                           Significant investment in workforce development
                           continues to be made in Wales. The absorption of
                           ELWa, WDA and WTB into WAG provides opportunities
                           for greater simplification and unification of publicly
                           supported workforce development. There are a number
                           of organisations across the education and training
                           sectors involved in developing the skills and services of
                           tourist enterprises. There are already successful
                           initiatives such as Medrwn which are having a positive
                           impact. The challenge is to identify and tailor
                           appropriate support and growth which meets market
                           demands and the aspirations of growing enterprises
                           working in the tourist sector in Central Wales.


                           In terms of addressing issues of recruitment and
                           retention in the industry, tourism has been viewed as
                           lacking a professional approach and is seen as a low
                           prestige sector. The Regional Tourism Partnerships,
                           DELLS, and the work of Medrwn, as well as and


                                        52
                        organisations outside the Region (such as Gallu in SW
                        Wales) have made great positive strides in raising the
                        professional standards of the industry. The focus is to
                        coordinate training provision for young people and to
                        encourage lifelong learning.


                        By improving the availability and accessibility of training
                        programmes, experience elsewhere shows that there is
                        a direct benefit in terms of staff retention levels and
                        indeed customer satisfaction leading to higher levels of
                        repeat visits.


Indicative Activities       1. Promote a learning environment among tourism
                                operators       to        increase   competence    and
                                professionalism in the sector.


                            2. Design         and    deliver    appropriate   workforce
                                development programmes which meet the main
                                needs of sector including management and
                                leadership.


                            3. Ensure effective communication channels are in
                                place to enable tourist enterprises to take
                                advantage            of      workforce    development
                                programmes.


                            4. Work within the existing business support
                                network to identify and target high growth SMEs
                                in the sector for bespoke workforce development
                                packages.


                            5. Encourage further development and formation of
                                business clusters as a mechanism for designing
                                and delivering training packages (alongside
                                other business practices and issues).




                                         53
                             6. Provide structured courses on a regular basis to
                                 meet the main needs of the tourism sector
                                 (recognising the differing needs of businesses
                                 within the industry) including ICT, customer
                                 service and health & safety.


                             7. Encourage the sector to better engage in a
                                 range      of   E-learning    and    „home     learning‟
                                 programmes with approval from VisitWales or
                                 other agencies as appropriate.


                             8. Further develop the mechanisms to allow tourist
                                 providers to sign up for updates on relevant
                                 legislative     changes      affecting   the   industry,
                                 possibly managed by main tourist associations,
                                 to ensure training needs are identified and
                                 implemented.


                             9. Coordinate existing training packages to clarify
                                 and promote available programmes and strive to
                                 develop comprehensive training packages


“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Wales: A Better Country
                          Wales: A Vibrant Economy
                          The Learning Country
                          RTP strategies
                          Local Authority Economic Development and Tourism
                          Strategies
Links to other projects   1-4, 6,7,8,10,11,12,13
Key Partners (including   DECWL
“lead”)                   WAG/ DE and T
                          FE sector
                          Local Authority Economic Development
                          RTPs
                          TTFW



                                       54
Timeframe               Ongoing
Indicative outcomes     Number of tourism employees receiving skills training
                        Increase investment in training by tourism enterprises
                        Decrease in levels of staff turnover in the sector
                        Improve employment levels
                        Increase number of skilled posts in sector
Compatibility with SA   Category 3
Monitoring              Business survey to assess workforce / skills
                        development take-up and expenditure (preferably
                        integrated into general DEIN/DELLS research into the
                        requirements of SMEs within Wales.
                        Regular review of data relating to above outcomes
                        through employers and trainees surveys




                                     55
ACTION PRIORITY            10. Integrating tourism with community regeneration

(People & Organisations)


Rationale                  The interaction of tourism and community development
                           plays a key role in creating a thriving industry which
                           provides important economic and social benefits.


                           It is essential that tourism in the Region is developed in
                           a balanced way which maintains the physical
                           attractiveness of the region (and individual areas). New
                           developments should offer social and economic benefits
                           as well as improved facilities and services to local
                           communities.


                           Communities for their part form a vital part of the tourist
                           experience in terms of the welcome, the cultural
                           experience and the range of support services and
                           facilities. Tourism by its nature is dependant on the
                           interaction of visitors with host communities and this
                           interaction is of paramount importance in the
                           determination of customer satisfaction with an area and
                           the desire to return or make recommendations to others.
                           There is a need to ensure the community is fully
                           integrated in tourism development, management and
                           promotion.


Indicative Activities         1. Building capacity of Community Partnerships in
                                  appropriate areas (including target hubs) to
                                  realise the potential of the tourism sector.


                              2. Encourage          stronger        links        through
                                  community/tourism          partnerships,        where
                                  applicable working with Town Centre and Area
                                  Management programmes.



                                        56
                              3. Encourage further introduction of IQM schemes
                                   into community development initiatives which
                                   fully embrace the required balance between the
                                   needs of tourists and residents.


                              4. Encourage tourist businesses to maximise their
                                   local impact through purchasing goods and
                                   services from local suppliers and employing a
                                   high proportion of local people. The latter is also
                                   likely to be a contributory factor in delivering a
                                   distinctive tourist experience linked to the locality
                                   and its culture.
“Strategic Fit”           Community Strategies
                          Achieving Our Potential
                          RTP strategies
                          Local Authority Economic Development Strategies
Links to other projects   1-9,14
Key Partners (including   WAG/DEIN
“lead”)                   Community Partnerships
Timeframe                 1-5 years (on-going)
Indicative outcomes       Increase sustainable contribution of tourism to the
                          economy of communities
Compatibility with SA     Category 3
                          Relevant to Healthy Community agenda and vibrant &
                          diversified local economy
Monitoring                Individual strategy reviews (to assess value / volume of
                          tourism activity)
                          Coordinated assessment of community involvement in
                          tourism initiatives




                                        57
ACTION PRIORITY            11. Coordinating delivery of information provision,
(People & Organisations)   incorporating ICT


Rationale                  Information management and communication are critical
                           elements of the overall offer in delivering customer
                           satisfaction for tourists and can also provide valuable
                           local information for residents and visiting friends and
                           relatives. Information Centres also have a valuable role
                           to play in conjunction with tourism hubs to help manage
                           and disperse tourism flows.


                           As web based tourist information and holiday bookings
                           have increased the role of traditional Tourist Information
                           Centres is regularly reviewed and is subject to
                           uncertainty over long term future funding. The Tourist
                           information service in the Region has both National Park
                           and local authority centres (and some private facilities
                           such as those managed by water companies) which are
                           divided into a small number of major strategic TICs
                           alongside a network of satellite facilities (some located
                           in shared facilities such as libraries, post offices and
                           shops) and Tourist Information points. This structure
                           works well but still relies on significant public sector
                           funding.


                           As Central Wales has a dispersed population the
                           concept of a Virtual Mid Wales on the web is going to be
                           increasingly important. There is a need for both private
                           and public sectors to become more web savvy and for
                           broadband to be made more widely available.


Indicative Activities          1. There is a need to ensure a seamless provision
                                   of information between web and destination
                                   based services (including Local Authority and



                                         58
                                  National Park Visitor Information Centres) - often
                                  web enquiries lead to further telephone enquiries
                                  to destination based centres.


                             2. Develop a strategic approach and appropriate
                                  mechanisms to enable the provision of new
                                  media options for dissemination of information
                                  eg; Wifi, podcasts etc


                             3. Across the Region, support needs to be
                                  maintained for     this essential    service   (TIC
                                  network) which also provides a useful monitor of
                                  bookings and enquiries to provide a regular
                                  health-check on the performance of the sector.
                                  TIC staff need regular and high quality training in
                                  customer service and local activities/attractions.


                             4. Look to exploit opportunities for integration
                                  between     information   services   and   tourism
                                  providers and in appropriate cases consider
                                  shared facilities on a joint venture basis.
                                  Encourage more engagement between the
                                  public and private sectors over TIC operations.
“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          RTP tourism and information strategies
                          Local Authority Tourism Strategies
Links to other projects   1-4,6,7,8
Key Partners (including   RTPs
“lead”)                   WAG/DEIN
                          Local Authorities
                          Tourism Associations
                          DELLS
                          DECWL
Timeframe                 1-5 years
Indicative outcomes       Level of face to face/telephone and web based enquiries
                          received and processed by TICs



                                       59
                        Level of bookings handled by TICs
Compatibility with SA   Category 3 – no negative impact / action required
Monitoring              Audit of ICT use in tourism organisations and
                        businesses.
                        Inclusion within visitor satisfaction surveys to assess
                        interface of IT in holiday booking and overall experience




                                      60
                           12. Securing effective industry participation
ACTION PRIORITY
(People & Organisations)


Rationale                  The tourism sector is characterised by its fragmented
                           nature, the interdependence of component elements of
                           the tourist product and the predominance of relatively
                           small scale enterprises and organisations. It also relies
                           on essential involvement from the public and voluntary
                           sectors both directly, such as information provision, and
                           indirectly, such as transport and infrastructure planning.


                           There is a need to ensure that the industry has an
                           appropriate voice to be represented in shaping policy
                           and investment decisions and to provide a coordinated
                           approach to tourism. The need for an effective
                           coordinating body bringing together the diverse interests
                           of the sector is even more acute in rural areas.


                           It is important that tourist associations can work
                           effectively to represent their members and liaise with
                           RTPs and other organisations to mutual benefit.


                           Inevitably business operators are prioritising managing
                           and running their activities and it is often difficult to
                           engage fully with the latest structural changes affecting
                           the industry.


Indicative Activities          1. Working alongside TPMW, Mid Wales Tourism
                                   and other neighbouring RTPs, assess most
                                   appropriate geographical areas within Central
                                   Wales for industry groups/sub groups where
                                   possible encouraging rationalisation/joint working
                                   of industry associations and ensuring minimal
                                   duplication.



                                           61
                             2. Seek to further develop enhanced web based
                                 communication within associations to make more
                                 effective use on time requirements of tourist
                                 industry participants. This is particularly relevant
                                 in rural and geographically remote areas


                             3. Look to progress liaison between industry
                                 associations and public bodies to encourage
                                 greater    participation    in    skills,   training
                                 programmes and classification schemes and
                                 wider adoption of IQM approach within tourism
                                 sector.
“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Winning Mid Wales
                          RTP strategies
Links to other projects   1-14
Key Partners (including   RTPs
“lead”)                   Tourist Associations
                          National Park Authorities
                          Local Authority Tourism Units
Timeframe                 On-going
Indicative outcomes       Number of member businesses within recognised
                          organisations
Compatibility with SA     Category 3 – no action required
Monitoring                Assessment of membership of tourism organisations
                          Annual business survey




                                      62
ACTION PRIORITY            13. Providing effective leadership and integration
(People & Organisations)   amongst public and voluntary agencies


Rationale                  The tourist sector in Central Wales is both highly
                           fragmented and very interdependent. To enhance inland
                           tourism and achieve a step change in tourism, effective
                           new partnership and collaborative working need to be
                           developed.


                           There are a large number of organisations with an
                           interest in tourism. These include local authorities,
                           regional bodies and a number of voluntary / community
                           based organisations operating at a local level.


                           Our consultation confirmed that there is some
                           duplication and overlap between partners. It is critical
                           that in a period of declining real resources, working
                           arrangements are reviewed to make more effective use
                           of what resources are available to make a real impact.


                           All the local authorities recognise the important
                           economic and regenerative role of tourism and play a
                           key role in destination management and development.

                           Because of the size of the region, it is essential that
                           organisations come together at a local level –
                           specifically in the tourist hubs – to co-ordinate and
                           undertake activity. For the Action Plan to be effective, it
                           is essential that the wide variety of methods and
                           structures involved in supporting and promoting tourism
                           destinations / hubs are rationalised, thus enabling
                           professional destination management and targeted
                           marketing. The visitor experience is ultimately delivered
                           at „destination level‟ and it is on this experience that




                                        63
                          visitors base their decisions on whether or not they will
                          return. A cohesive and clearly defined partnership
                          approach is required for effective collaborative working
                          within destinations.

                          To take forward the inland Central Wales agenda,
                          marketing and product development activity should be
                          focused around strong brands, niche products and
                          distinctive destinations and not administrative
                          boundaries.


Indicative Activities           1. Investigate mechanisms for sharing and pooling
                                   resources wherever possible to create a bigger
                                   impact.


                                2. Raise awareness of the value of the visitor
                                   economy in inland Central Wales among public
                                   sector decision makers and continue to press the
                                   need for a well resourced RTP with strong links
                                   to sub regional destinations and hubs.


                                3. Explore the mechanisms for greater partnership
                                   collaboration on tourism issues across Central
                                   Wales, (with representation from other RTPs,
                                   National Park Authorities and all the Local
                                   authorities, and Central Wales Spatial Plan
                                   group). possibly with regional workshops to
                                   monitor      action   plan   progress   and   review
                                   priorities
“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          Cultural Strategy
                          RTP strategies
                          Community Strategies
Links to other projects   All
Key Partners (including   TPMW and other RTPs
“lead”)                   Local Authorities




                                         64
                        DEIN
                        CCW
                        Community Partnerships
                        Tourist Associations
                        Voluntary Groups
Timeframe               1-7 years
Indicative outcomes     Success of partnership based initiatives in the Region


Compatibility with SA   Category 3 - no action required
Monitoring              Annual review through Central Wales Economy Forum




                                    65
                           14. Coordinating appropriate branding, marketing
ACTION PRIORITY
(People & Organisations)
                           and promotion of the inland tourism product




Rationale                   The Central Wales area does not directly correspond to
                            the existing Tourism Marketing Areas across Wales. It
                            is perhaps important to highlight that the strong
                            consensus of opinion among industry and organisation
                            representatives that branding should be taken forward
                            on a sub regional basis for selected destinations within
                            Central Wales working in close collaboration with
                            relevant national strategies and campaigns. There is no
                            support for creating a further tier for marketing relating
                            specifically to Central Wales as it is not seen as a
                            marketing area or tool by the industry or visitors.


                            A brand is an essential part of building a destination and
                            of a marketing strategy. Importantly a trusted brand
                            helps to build visitor loyalty and differentiate a region
                            from its competitors and importantly needs to be
                            understood, accepted and adopted by partner
                            organisations and the public. The priority for the region
                            is, (working within the brand development at national
                            level), to develop brands on a sub-regional basis
                            building on existing strengths such as Snowdonia,
                            Brecon and other distinctive areas.


                            There are some excellent examples of marketing
                            activities in the Region often linking in with national
                            programmes (Mid Wales has been undertaking the
                            development of a regional brand , not just for tourism,
                            that sits below the national branding for Wales) but in
                            many cases there remains a lack of coherent branding,
                            marketing and promotion of tourism in the Region and
                            the provision of marketing material is fragmented and


                                         66
                        ranges in quality.




Indicative Activities      1. The Region clearly has strong elements of local
                               distinctiveness which could help shape the
                               identity of sub brands for existing and emerging
                               destinations. It will be important to build on the
                               work being carried out to identify core brand
                               values and common identity for the priority
                               destination hubs and where applicable extend
                               this across a wider area.


                           2. Co-ordinate initiatives to help ensure that
                               consistent key brand messages are marketed by
                               all partners and stakeholders and that there is no
                               duplication of effort across the region.


                           3. Co-ordinate initiatives with VisitWales (and local
                               partners) to ensure any initiatives are aligned
                               with wider Wales branding, marketing strategies
                               and promotions.


                           4. Encourage marketing initiatives which help drive
                               the short and long break holiday makers.


                           5. Explore potential of developing a gateway
                               website covering a number of sub regional areas
                               which will act as an access point for online
                               information. The website would provide links to
                               other websites which will be „assessed and
                               managed to ensure they provide up to date and
                               reliable      information   (similar   to   the   way
                               accommodation is graded). Potentially this could
                               be built upon an existing website. Such a
                               website can support the needs of visitors,
                               tourism businesses and members of the local



                                     67
                                 community.


“Strategic Fit”           Achieving Our Potential
                          RTP Strategies
                          Local Authority Strategies
Links to other projects   1-6, 8,10,12,13
Key Partners (including   WAG/DE and T (VisitWales marketing)
“lead”)                   RTPs
                          Local Authorities
                          National Parks
Timeframe                 1-5 years
Indicative outcomes       Increase brand awareness (including sub brands)
                          Consistent use of brand
                          Increase overall visitor levels (year round)


Compatibility with SA     Category 3 – no action required
Monitoring                Number of unique visitors to gateway website, bookings
                          generated via gateway website.
                          Regular appraisal of brand awareness in key origin
                          markets




                                       68
                           15. Maintaining and improving market intelligence
ACTION PRIORITY
(People & Organisations)
                           and data collection to inform product and market
                           development in Central Wales




Rationale                   The existing resources to capture and analyse tourism
                            data and trends are limited, lack uniformity and in most
                            cases only have short term funding support. The
                            designation of Central Wales as a Spatial Planning
                            Region provides an opportunity to introduce effective
                            mechanisms to understand trends in rural tourism.


                            The UK wide UKTS and IPS Surveys generate reports
                            at existing regional levels (North, Mid, South West,
                            South East) within acceptable margins but are not
                            suitable to report statistics or measure trends at a
                            community or even county level.


                            It is important to understand the current trends in terms
                            of visitors (demand) to the region and forecast trends
                            which will help drive product and service development.
                            It is also important to match with this an in-depth
                            understanding of the current provision of tourism
                            products (supply). This will help identify new
                            opportunities and ensure development initiatives (i)
                            meet market needs (ii) do not replicate existing
                            initiatives.


                            Initiatives which are put forward should be based upon a
                            firm understanding of the market conditions. It is
                            important that research and forecasting techniques can
                            be presented and analysed uniformly across Wales
                            wherever possible.




                                           69
Indicative Activities          1. Working with WAG / Visit Wales Tourism
                                   Research Unit and the pan Wales research
                                   group,     encourage   the    execution    and
                                   collection of appropriate research to meet the
                                   needs of inland / rural regions in Central
                                   Wales.


                               2. Continue with STEAM collection in Region to
                                   enable analysis of trend data over last 5
                                   years and seek to disaggregate data for
                                   Central Wales and primary individual hubs
                                   where appropriate in addition to Snowdonia
                                   and Brecon Beacons.


                               3. Collate information on supply and demand of
                                   tourism businesses within study area and
                                   carry out survey(s) to identify performance of
                                   these businesses, where possible building on
                                   VisitWales mechanisms and research.


                               4. Put    in   place   mechanisms    to   regularly
                                   disseminate information to industry on trends
                                   and projections, again building on VisitWales
                                   mechanisms and research.


                               5. Establish a set of inland Wales indicators
                                   and targets from the suite of national/regional
                                   targets outlined in Achieving Our Potential.


                               6. Ensure all partner organisations are aware of
                                   major research activity in the region and look
                                   to increase collaboration (for example adding
                                   questions to partners‟ questionnaires where
                                   applicable).
“Strategic Fit”         Achieving Our Potential
                        Relevant regional and local tourism strategies



                                    70
Links to other projects   All
Key Partners (including   WAG/DEIN (VisitWales Research)
“lead”)                   RTPs and Local Authorities
                          National Parks
                          CCW
                          FC
Timeframe                 On-going
Indicative outcomes       Production of volume and value data for region in
                          agreed standard format on annual basis, with potential
                          to disaggregate inland tourism data
Compatibility with SA     Category 3
Monitoring                Annual review and update of statistics and indicators in
                          sector on consistent basis (for comparative purposes)




                                       71
6.0    Funding, Delivery and Implementation

The section considers the most appropriate way for delivery of the Action
Framework. In summary, effective delivery of programmes and projects to enhance
inland tourism in Central Wales will require better co-ordination at all levels - intra-
regional, sub-regional and at a local level.


The Action Framework identifies some of the broad funding opportunities to support
public intervention for tourism programmes and projects. Clearly, this is a changing
environment but there are a number of opportunities for external funding support and
for additional resources to support activities through alignment of funding streams
and effective pooling of public sector resources.



6.1    Funding


It is recognised that there is a need for selective public sector interventions to pump-
prime the private sector to drive forward a programme to enhance inland tourism in
Central Wales. The Framework relates to a range of projects that require public
sector intervention, although many of the indicative activities will involve partnerships
that will include the private sector.


In addition it is clear that funding for tourism is tight. Whilst tourism is a major
element of the Central Wales economy, in an increasing push to achieve the
Assembly Government‟s vision for a broader economic base, local authorities are
being encouraged to seek to establish balanced development strategies, within which
tourism is considered alongside other economic sectors. With increasing pressures
to finance core statutory service provision e.g. education, and social services etc.,
the result is the likelihood of further cuts in local authority spending on tourism.


The Welsh Assembly Government has given a high priority to Economic
Development and Transport within its current spending programme – in excess of
£24m is allocated towards tourism promotion in 2007 / 08 within an overall budget of
£1,527m. However, tourism will have to compete with other priorities in the context of
tightening budgets of the Welsh Assembly Government.




                                             72
The complex nature of budgetary responsibility means that there will be a variety of
parties responsible for driving the projects forward and funding will involve a number
of agencies and Government portfolios. Within WAG, the main departments
responsible for funding tourism development include DEIN and DELLS. The core
policy frameworks which provide the strategic justification for funding include:




      Wales: A Vibrant Economy proposes four key priorities for economic
       development; to increase employment, to invest in the regeneration of
       communities, to help businesses grow and to support sustainable
       development;
      The Skills and employment action plan 2005 takes forward the Wales Lifelong
       Learning agenda; and
      The Environment Strategy for Wales reinforces the importance of sustainable
       development and the challenge of climate change.


In terms of external funding, under the European Council budget agreement, West
Wales and the Valleys will receive around £1.3 billion over 7 years to support a new
Convergence Programme. East Wales will also benefit from ERDF and ESF funding
through the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Operational programmes.


There will also be European funding via the Rural Development Plan. The RDP
funding will be focussed on supporting diversification of rural economies at local
level. This includes interventions in agriculture, including supporting innovative farm
diversification and woodland enterprises.


A consultation framework on proposed plans for a £47mn investment programme into
Wales / Ireland border regions was launched in December 2006. The succession
programme to the 2000-2006 Ireland Wales INTERREG programme aim to develop
the knowledge economy and support projects which address climate change,
sustainable regeneration and community regeneration.


The new programmes will focus on interventions that support sustainable growth and
jobs, in line with the Lisbon and Gothenberg strategies.


Preparation work for the 2007-2013 European Structural Funds Programmes is
continuing but there are still unresolved issues which mean it is not possible to be


                                            73
absolutely clear about the allocations for different programmes and the potential
funding opportunities for each project. In particular, there may be voids when current
funding programmes terminate in March 2007 and before new programmes can be
initiated.


WAG is preparing a number of „Strategic Frameworks‟ that align domestic policy with
Convergence Programme priorities and themes, to help ensure that projects are
more coherent and better co-ordinated than in the past. Some will be delivered
nationally, others regionally. Tourism is not identified as a specific theme but will
impact on a number of Strategic Frameworks, specifically Environment for Growth
and Business Development. A key consideration is to improve impact on growth and
jobs and to encourage more joined-up action.


The Convergence priorities for West Wales and the Valleys ERDF are:
1. Building the Knowledge based economy (ERDF)
                  R&D, innovation and technology;
                  Information society for all & ICT infrastructure. (ERDF);
2. Improving business competitiveness (ERDF)
                  Entrepreneurship and business growth;
                  Business finance
3. Developing strategic infrastructure(ERDF)
                  Sustainable Transport
                  Strategic infrastructure
4. Creating an attractive business environment (ERDF)
                  Renewable energy
                  Environmental risk management
                  Environment for growth
5. Building Sustainable Communities ERDF
                  Physical regeneration
                  Community economic development


And for the ESF:
1. Supplying young people with the skills needed for employment (ESF);
2. Increasing employment and tackling economic inactivity (ESF)
3. Improving skill levels and improving the adaptability of the workforce (ESF); and
4. Making the connections – modernising our public services (ESF).



                                              74
Similar priorities are set within the East Wales Regional Competitiveness and
Employment Operational Framework, which is designed to help business to move
continually up the value chain and increase the value-added per job, thereby raising
productivity, earnings and employment. The ESF Operational Framework focuses on
raising skills and increasing employment. Both the ERDF and ESF programmes are
particularly important for Central Wales as then ensure that Powys will be able to
benefit from European Funding.


These priorities and themes have been rationalised by WAG into a number of
proposed Strategic Frameworks, drawn up by the Spatial Plan Area Group.


Proposed Strategic Frameworks
Thematic ESF Frameworks

P1 Theme 1&2 – Supplying young people with skills for learning and future development
P2 Theme 1&2 – Increasing employment and tackling economic activity
P3 Theme 1 – Raising the skills level of the workforce
P3 Theme 2 – Skills for the knowledge economy: Workforce development and learning
P3 Theme 3 – Promoting gender equality in employment
P4 Theme 1&2 – Making the Connections


Thematic ERDF Frameworks

Sustainable Regeneration Framework (spatial Framework) – P3T2 – Strategic Infrastructure,
P4T3 – Environment for Growth, P5T1 – Physical Regeneration

P1 Theme 1 – Innovation R&D and Technology
P1 Theme 2 – ICT Infrastructure and Exploitation
P2 Theme 1 – Enterprise
P2 Theme 2 – Business Finance
P3 Theme 1 – Sustainable Transport
P4 Theme 1 & 2 – Climate Change, Energy and Adaptation
P4 Theme 2 – Materials Efficiency
P5 Theme 2 – Community Economic Regeneration




In future, any project seeking WAG/EU funding will need to justify its importance
against one or more of these Frameworks. The ERDF frameworks of greatest
relevance to tourism are:




                                            75
         Business Finance, which may help fund improvements to existing, and
          development of new, commercial tourism products, particularly the
          accommodation sector;
         Enterprise, which may provide support for the marketing of tourism products,
          and
         Environment for Growth, which can support the development of the activity
          tourism product, particularly infrastructure, improvements to visitor facilities,
          interpretation and conservation of heritage sites, visitor management and
          visitor facilities at natural heritage sites.


In respect of the core areas of Powys a further Adfywio programme funded through
objective 2 has been made available until Sept 2007. The £750,000 capital grant
scheme provides financial support for projects, which help to integrate tourism with
outdoor recreation and the natural environment.


Clearly, there is also scope for funding from local resources; this is assumed implicit
in all Projects.



6.2       Genuine Partnership


The Action Framework sets out an ambitious programme to enhance inland tourism
in Central Wales. The key to successful implementation will lie in a genuine
partnership and multi-agency approach involving public agencies, private sector and
education and voluntary organisations.


The Action Framework will need to be driven by a new form of collaboration between
public/voluntary sector agencies and the private sector, which will seek effective
levels of inter-action between the local authorities and other key partners involved in
tourism development and marketing.


There are a large number of organisations with an interest in tourism. The situation in
Central Wales is complex given the number of local authorities, Regional Tourism
Partnerships and local groups promoting, developing and running visitor facilities. In
addition, there are a host of regional agencies and a plethora of tourism associations
and development partnerships operating at a local level.




                                                 76
Tourism Partnership Mid Wales will have a central role to play at a number of levels
to secure buy-in and commitment to the Action Framework, specifically to:


         Ensure that the “gap” analysis and relevant spatial elements of the indicative
          activities are integrated in the Spatial Plan process;
         Lobby for resource to implement actions to enhance inland tourism in Central
          Wales;
         Secure buy-in and commitment from local authorities, industry and other
          stakeholders to drive forward an inland tourism agenda in Central Wales, and
         Co-ordinate design, development and delivery of priority programmes outlined
          in section 4.


The Action Framework has a clear tourism and economic development focus;
however, consideration will need to be given as to how this fits with existing policy
and programme channels, for example the LDFs and Community Plans.


6.3       Strategic leadership


The “gap analysis” and preparation of the Action Framework completes the first
phase. The next stage will be to consult widely on the Action Framework and secure
commitment and funding to translate the plan into action to secure the future
economic growth and prosperity of the area.


The next key phases include:


         Further consultation and mobilisation;
         Engaging with the private sector;
         Integrating the inland Central Wales agenda within the Spatial Plan process;
         Prioritising activities
         Securing funding for implementing the Action Framework.


The emphasis now will be on translating the framework into action under the priorities
themes identified within the report.


TPMW will have a key role for driving the Framework forward, ensuring that the
opportunities for enhancing inland tourism is embedded within the WSP, taking an
active part in identifying and developing priority actions and evaluating progress.


                                              77
Successful implementation will also require the active support and participation of a
wide range of other stakeholders from the public and private sector.


We propose the following process:


         Publicise the Framework to as wide an audience as possible via a short
          “summary”;


         Consider organising a working conference to consider the evidence base and
          indicative actions;


         Establish a Steering Group (initially members of the project Steering Group)
          to develop a Business Plan to drive forward priority activities;


6.4       Monitoring and Evaluation


To ensure appropriate monitoring and evaluation of the Action Framework and its
indicative activities, there is a need to;


         Devise and agree, in conjunction with neighbouring Spatial Plan area
          partners, a set of performance measures to evaluate progress. These are
          likely to cover areas such as:
              -   Industry performance
              -   Visitor satisfaction
              -   Community attitude
              -   Value of inland tourism
              -   Market share
              -   Skills take-up and
              -   Investment


         The first step will be to establish a baseline set of statistics in order to judge
          progress. Consideration will need to be given as to an appropriate cost
          effective approach to monitoring the economic impact of inland tourism in
          Central Wales.




                                               78
           Appendix 1

           List of Consultees/Workshop Attendees

           Workshop 1

           Present:     Mrs Dee Reynolds         Tourism Partnership Mid Wales
                        Ms Mari Stevens          Tourism Partnership Mid Wales
                        Mr Mike Shore            DELLS
                        Mr J Gareth Thomas       Powys County Council
                        Mr „Niel Owen            Ceredigion County Council
                        Mr George Brookes        Conwy County Council
                        Ms Catrin Wynn Roberts   DEIN
                        Mr David Jones           DEIN
                        Mr Nigel Adams           DEIN
                        Ms Margaret Jones        CCW
                        Mr John Dent             Jacobs Babtie
                        Ms Alwena Watkins        Spatial Plan Unit
                        Ms Sian Jones            Gwynedd Council
                        Mr John Williams         DEIN
                        Mr David Howells         PSCL (Consultant)
                        Mr Kevin Brown           PSCL (Consultant)

                 Apologies:
                      Mr Andre Morgan            Coleg Ceredigion
                      Mr Robin Beckmann          DELLS
                      Dr Geraint Davies          DELLS
                      Mr Jeremy Wright           Powys County Council
                      Mr John Ablitt             Snowdonia National Park Authority


Workshop 2

Present:       Mrs Dee Reynolds         Tourism Partnership Mid Wales
               Mr Nigel Adams           PaSG, DEIN
               Mr John Ablitt           Snowdonia National Park
               Mr George Brookes        Conwy CBC
               Ms Mari Stevens          Tourism Partnership Mid Wales
               Mr Steffan Roberts       DEIN
               Ms Margaret Jones        CCW
               Mr Ifan Betts            Gwynedd Council
               Ms Rebecca Colpus        PAVO
               Ms Alwena Watkins        Spatial Plan Unit, DEIN
               Mr Ian Rutherford        Wales Tourism Alliance
               Ms Dilys Parker          Invest Wales Tourism, DEIN
               Mr David Jones           Marketing, DEIN
               Mr Kevin Brown           PSCL
               Mr David Howells         PSCL

                 Mr Eric Bowles           Brecon Beacons National Park Authority




                                                 79
Appendix 2
A Blueprint for Inland Tourism in Central Wales Stakeholder Workshop:
19th October 2006




1.    Introduction & Purpose (TPMW)
         outline findings
         consider issues and opportunities
         agree next steps




2.    Interim Stage Report Presentation (PSCL)
      “State of the Central Wales Region” report:
      Review and gap analysis of inland tourism in Central Wales




3.    Workshop: Issues and Opportunities
      Group (s) to consider:


      A] Inland rural tourism: is there a precise geographical area to focus
      initiatives?


      B] In terms of developing the inland tourism product, what are the priorities for
      action?


      C] What is the best mechanism for delivery and implementation?




4.    Next steps: Action Phase




                                         80
Appendix 3
A Blueprint for Inland Tourism in Central Wales
Workshop 2: Programmes, Projects and Priorities
8th December 2006


1.    Introduction & Purpose (TPMW - DR)
         Develop and agree programmes, projects and partners
         Agree priorities for action
         Discuss delivery mechanisms
         Review next steps


2.    Taking the Gap Analysis Forward (PSCL)
         Review Report 1: gap analysis of inland tourism in Central Wales
         The Action Plan: format and structure
         Core Objectives
         Translating the objectives into action
         Funding


3.    Workshop Exercise 1: (all)
      Prioritising Objectives and Programmes
      A] Agreeing and prioritising objectives


      B] Agreeing and prioritising programmes


4.    Workshop Exercise 2: (all)
      Distinctive Destinations
      A] Agreeing and mapping major tourist hubs


      B] Agreeing and mapping secondary tourist hubs


5.    Next Steps (TPMW / WAG)


6.    Close




                                         81

								
To top