Being the most popular

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Penarth Pier

The art deco front of Penarth Pier

At the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli this week, Penarth Pier was named as Wales’ favourite Special Place.

This is how the press release goes. “There has been a national competition that has seen the Welsh public debate and back the places that mean the most to them. For eight weeks celebrities, AMs, schoolchildren and the general public have been involved in a national conversation that has seen them voting in their thousands for their Special Place in Wales – as part of a major campaign by the National Trust Wales to find Wales’ most treasured landmark.”

You cannot claim that it is the winner because it is quite obvious that voting was determined by the strength of the campaign for each of the places. I am not saying that the pier in Penarth is not worthy, it most certainly is and is very popular and the charity has doen wonders to keep its status wmongst visitors. It just isn’t the winner as defined by the National Trust. Surely winning is determined by how many people visit an attraction. And norther the pier nor the runners-up; Cyfarthfa Castle outside Merthyr Tydfil, Mwnt in Ceredigion and the Gower fit the bill.

This award is just a promotion by the National Trust which garners it publicity. It had held events across the country since the start of the campaign to urge people to get behind their own special place It even lobbied members of the Welsh assembly and got them to cast votes. In support of the “award” it attraction nods from a number of other bodies in Wales such Visit Wales, Cadw, Cynnal Cymru, Media Wales and Ramblers Cymru.

If the purpose was to draw attention to tourism attractions then the promotion cannot be criticised because it has done just that. But to claim that it is the favourite is incorrect. It is only the favourite amongst those who voted and when places like Snowdon, Cardiff Castle, the Brecon Beacons, Tenby, Barry Island, Tintern Abbey, the Elan Valley, Caernarfon are omitted you do have to wonder how the judges whittled down the numbers to be left with just ten of their choosing for the public to vote for.

Yet another case of hoodwinking the public by not explaining everything.

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