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Documentary puts spotlight on tension between locals and tourists during pandemic

25 Mar 2021 3 minute read
Eryri: Croeso Nol? (Snowdonia: Welcome Back?) Cwmni Da

A documentary has put a spotlight on the tension between locals and tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme, Eryri: Croeso Nol? (Snowdonia: Welcome Back?), looks at the unprecedented challenges at the National Park as visitors flocked in the summer of 2020 after lockdown restrictions were lifted.

During the documentary, which is being aired on Thursday 1 April at 9.00pm, Erynne Watson, from Beddgelert, Gwynedd, complains about the impact of overcrowding on her children and says one of them “almost had a panic attack” because people were not keeping at a 2 metre distance.

She said: “They [her children] don’t want to come out of the house to the village.

“We tried to come down here and one of my kids almost had a panic attack because no one kept the 2 meters. They don’t see that it’s fair – they want to come down to swim in the river and they can’t.”

As the area prepared to reopen for tourism, Helen Pye, Snowdonia National Park’s Head of Engagement, said: “It’s a bit like waiting for a storm. You don’t know if the storm is going to arrive or not and all you can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

‘Parked illegally’ 

The programme documents rows of cars parked illegally, and dangerously in Pen-y-Pass, where car parks were already full by 3am.

By the time staff arrived at 7, the cars were a hundred yards down the main road, which caused serious traffic problems.

One of the Assistant Wardens, who directs the cars to the park and ride system, is Keith Ellis: “Most people are fine…people have been under great pressure and fear because of the pandemic, everyone wants to come out and get some fresh air. It’s nice to see people back.

“We want to welcome people back – we rely on the money coming to the area – but people also want to be sensible when they turn up.

“There has to be plans A, B and C and if it’s too busy, think if it’s safe to be here.”

In the village of Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon, many visitors were parking in residents-only sites rather than paying at the local car parks.

There were also issues with tourists parking on the street in the early hours of the morning to go up Snowdon, which made a great deal of noise while residents were trying to sleep.

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