Covid pandemic £700m cost to tourism
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
The Covid pandemic cost Conwy’s tourist industry in the region of £700m during a two-year period.
A council report published this month shows that the county’s tourist industry made just £372m in 2020 and £729m in 2021 when lockdowns were still in place.
Previously the county made £904m in 2018 and £996m in 2019.
The tourism vision – the revised Destination Conwy Management Plan (DCMP) – was published by both the Destination Conwy Partnership and Conwy County Council and went before the council’s economy and place overview and scrutiny committee.
The plan was previously published in 2019 to give a vision for tourism in the county for the next ten years, but following the Covid-19 pandemic, the plan was revised.
Introducing the report, Cllr Nigel Smith said, “Tourism is a priority sector to Conwy county, and the approval of this plan will show support from Conwy County Council for the tourism industry, and it’s vision for tourism in the county for the next six years.”
Cllr Louise Emery said the tourist industry was recovering now after the pandemic. But Cllr Emery said Conwy’s public transport needed improving so residents could get to work.
“Visitors are fussier than they’ve ever been, so they want super-fast wi-fi,” she said.
“They want decent rooms. They want different accommodation. They don’t tend to go to B&Bs as much now – the self-catering, that’s an issue with housing. The pier owner tells me he has to hire a bus on a Sunday to get his workers home because there’s no way of getting them home. So, it’s not just about the visitor. It’s about the residents and workforce, so I think that’s important for it to work. So yeah, great plan. Let’s get it through.”
Key themes of the vision include sustainability and emphasis on the importance of balancing the needs of residents with those of visitors.
The revised plan outlines 11 objectives, including increasing the value of tourism across the whole year, ensuring the quality of the visitor and resident experience, and the engagement of visitors with the county’s heritage.
The plan also strives to address skills and workforce issues, increase the use of greener travel and transport infrastructure, and ensure the destination meets resident and visitor expectations in terms of cleanliness, facilities, and amenities.
The report revealed that Llandudno alone offers over 15,000 beds per night whilst in the east of the county, non-serviced accommodation, primarily static mobile homes, offers around 50,000 beds per night.
The report also states that international visitors have increased by almost 50% between 2011 and 2016 to 80,000 visitors a year.
As well as major attractions, the report lists Conwy’s tourist assets, including 45 miles of coast and its paths, beaches, mountains, valleys, adventure and sports facilities, wildlife, heritage, nature reserves, theatres, and Llandudno’s retail hub.
Major attractions include the Eryri National Park, Conwy RSPB reserve, Bodnant Garden, the Great Orme Country Park, numerous castles including Conwy Castle and its town walls and Dolwyddelan Castle, Zip World Fforest, Go Below, Llandudno Snowsports Centre, GYG Karting, Tir Prince, and the Welsh Mountain Zoo, amongst many others.
The report will now go before cabinet.
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