“Tourism was worth £434m to Carmarthenshire’s economy in 2017 according to a study put together for the county council, a rise of 7.8% on the previous year.
The research found total visitor days hit 6.39 million, up 7.2% on 2016. Tourism in 2017 supported 6,343 full time equivalent jobs in the county, a rise of 5.3% on 2016. Over the last ten years, the value of tourism to the county has increased by £150million.
Could the Executive Board Member for culture, sport and tourism tell me how these impressive figures have been achieved and what are his expectations for 2018?”
“Tourism was worth £434m to Carmarthenshire’s economy in 2017 according to a study put together for the county council, a rise of 7.8% on the previous year. The research found total visitor days hit 6.39 million, up 7.2% on 2016. Tourism in 2017 supported 6,343 full time equivalent jobs in the county, a rise of 5.3% on 2016. Over the last ten years, the value of tourism to the county has increased by £150million. Could the Executive Board Member for culture, sport and tourism tell me how these impressive figures have been achieved and what are his expectations for 2018?”
Response by Councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport & Tourism:-
“The question itself shows the success in this specific area and the increase which has taken place especially with the figures in the last year and I think we can take all morning really to outline the reason for this considerable success. Can I state first of all that we are so happy with the success, because I’m sitting next to Cllr. David Jenkins [Executive Board Member-Resources] here, as far as the economic boost that is of big praise because it can be seen in the figures in the question. So we are thinking about Carmarthenshire to start off with and the locations, we have a county which is very beautiful, a naturally beautiful county, and includes experiences from being on the seaside or going up to the Beacons. And then we also have towns and villages of all size across the county so we have an excellent potential in our specific locations in Carmarthenshire. And then associated with that, in those areas, we have very vibrant culture as we’ve heard this morning and a very welsh element to it and the language which the visitors are thrilled by. During the last 10 years we have developed locations and accommodation for people which attracts them. We have events that attract them across the county, we have a variety of locations for people to eat, we have, if you want a picnic or if you want a five-course meal, have everything here. That is the development that has taken place and that can be seen clearly now for those people who are willing to spend. But what about the people? And I have to say there are very talented people in this area and that has developed as well during the last few years. People have adapted for tourism because if I can say especially in the countryside and around the agricultural sector to offer accommodation and services. This aspect has without doubt contributed economically and these entrepreneurs that we have across the county especially in the rural areas. And then we have the promotional element that we are promoting Carmarthenshire. We have without doubt caught up with other counties on this such as Pembrokeshire for example. We have concentrated on marketing Carmarthenshire and you can see, we have seen today, the type of things that pay dividends for us here in Carmarthenshire. In England and in Europe and in South Wales, the large population in South Wales and across North Wales, we are attracting those as well to Carmarthenshire as well as other people from across the world. And we of course work alongside Visit Wales and succeed recently and last year if I can say, from the list that I have seen, the people who have come into Carmarthenshire and who have written extensively in our newspapers, in our magazines, and even in the Financial Times we are appearing, that is an area where we have promoted where you were asking how have we had such excellent figures. Can I praise us as well, you saw earlier the Promoting Carmarthenshire Society and tourism as well, but as local government here in Carmarthenshire have improved considerably a variety of things and created a variety of resources. I could give you a vast list of the type of locations that we have prepared for visitors and the emphasis of course on walking and cycling routes. But it is much more than that, we have better facilities as a council. But one word about the future of tourism, it’s a modern industry, and we will continue to develop and plan it because of its economic value to us here in Carmarthenshire. And one important factor when we think about tourism, we think about it possibly during the summer, that is another element that we are developing, that tourism and Carmarthenshire appeals to people throughout the year to come here and there are various plans being worked on at the moment, I won’t begin to list them today, but that is what is happening for developing tourism here in the county. I said the word ‘economic’ many times but I would like to thank the cooperation between the departments. Can I just talk about the economic development team, they play an important part in the development element and I know that Cllr. Cefin Campbell, in the regeneration of the rural areas, they are going to develop ideas in relation to tourism within his area. And after saying all of that and talking about all the preparations that we have, we of course depend on the weather, in the summer anyway, but when we have a summer as good as we had this year that will be a vast step forward for tourism as well. Can I thank everybody for promoting Carmarthenshire, there are many councillors sitting around here who know about developments in their own areas. Forgive me, I do want to refer, as an example, to the marina in Burry Port. Both local councillors will have received a report from the company who are developing the marina for us, on the increase in the summer on the figures and of the numbers who visited. It hasn’t been finished yet, we’re about halfway through development and improving around it and that is the kind of thing that we have an input in as a council in order to develop. So thank you to you all and I do want to emphasise the local councillors as they help in their areas with various initiatives and for their support, and the staff as well and congratulations to them. Tourism in Carmarthenshire is a success as those figures show and the challenge is of course that we continue and increase on this for Carmarthenshire to succeed economically. Thank you.