Hindering Welsh tourism growth

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Caernarfon Castle from the inside. One of the main attractions in the north that visitors want to see

Yesterday at a meeting in Cardiff a UK Inbound conference was held. For those readers unfamiliar with UK Inbound it is a tourism trade body largely made up of tour operators and organisations that bring overseas visitors to the UK.

Although it was a meeting about bringing people to the UK because of the location it also talked about Wales.  The problems raised about Wales are as relevant to visitors coming from other parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland as they are to overseas visitors. And to domestic Welsh holidaymakers who want to see more of their country.

Deidre Wells, the boss of UK Inbound,  drew attention to a feature that Just about Travel moaned about nearly four years ago. She said that more should be done to improve north-south links. At present she suggested that it can be a four hour drive. Personally I think journeys can take longer particularly in summer when single lane roads cannot cope with the amount of traffic that uses them. The A55 along North Wales is dual carriageway but still has bottlenecks. The M4/A40 in the south has little dual carriageway past St Clears so visitors end up following tractors or trucks making for the ferry terminal at Fishguard.

Cilgerran Castle in northern Pembrokeshire seen in the snow this week. It isn’t as popular as it could be if the road network was better

Getting from north to south is lengthy with very few dual carriageways or even passing lanes anywhere south of the A55 and north of the M4/A40 so it is it any wonder that visitors don’t see as much of Wales as they might like.

The Welsh Government said it was investing in the road and rail network yet twelve years ago it said that parts of the A40 were “one of the lowest standard sections.”  Little has been done to improve things outside the population hub of Cardiff/Newport/Swansea yet a lot of the sites visitors want to see are not there. Even then the M4 relief road is still mired in political conflict

Last year when she was interviewed by the BBC, Prof Annette Pritchard, director of the Welsh Centre for Tourism Research said that Wales was underperforming and not reaching its full potential in attracting high-spending international tourists.

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