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Gower in danger of ‘becoming a glorified theme park’, campaigners warn

07 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
The end of Oxwich beach, Gower, where the kiosk-type buildings could be extended and upgraded (Creative Commons/Philip Pankhurst).

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

People are making a lot of money from the Gower brand – but the area itself is in danger “of becoming a glorified theme park”, it has been claimed.

Gordon Howe, of the Gower Society, outlined the group’s concerns about tourist capacity and visitor management at the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) which, like many other designated landscapes, has experienced soaring visitor numbers this year.

He said wild camping, when people didn’t use authorised sites, was rife. Mr Howe claimed the last Gower traffic survey was done in the 1970s and that the last caravan survey appeared to have been in 2009 when, he said, it was supposed to be done every year.

He said the society, whose main aim is to promote the landscape, nature and history of Gower, was not trying to tell people what to do. Everybody had a right, he said, to visit the countryside.

But his report said the AONB was seriously under pressure from tourism, and that the visitor demographic was changing from families to young people, often in groups.

“Gower is rapidly losing its character and in danger of becoming a glorified theme park,” it said. “Many of our traditional visitors have commented upon this and like many of our residents are not at all happy with this trend.”

‘Funding boost’ 

The report said Pembrokeshire National Park had received a 10% funding boost from the Welsh Government this year for frontline staff, such as wardens. It requested that Swansea Council pursued a similar uplift for the AONB.

Mr Howe is a member of the council-led Gower AONB partnership steering group, which briefly discussed the report.

Gower AONB team leader Chris Lindley said the issues it raised reflected those elsewhere in the UK during a year of foreign travel restrictions.

Mr Lindley said many visitors had a different attitude about how to behave in the countryside, and that there were “really big messages” about how their behaviour impacted on the very things they’d come to see which needed to be conveyed.

When the meeting came to an end Mr Howe said he felt the group had left the matter in-limbo, and urged further consideration of it.

“People are making an extraordinary amount of money this year out of the Gower brand,” he said. “The Gower brand has gone viral. It is coining in money.”

He was keen to know how much of that was being reinvested in the AONB.

Mr Howe suggested that a working group was formed to look into some of the issues raised.

He said the council was doing an excellent job promoting Swansea and Gower, but described the five-mile sweep of Swansea beach from Mumbles to SA1 as “frighteningly under-used”.

The group agreed to the working group idea, and will look into an up-to-date traffic survey for Gower.

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Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
14 days ago

The whole of the west of Wales is “seriously under pressure from tourism”. It urgently needs reining in and brought to a sustainable level that actually benefits this country.

Hedda Mulgrew
Hedda Mulgrew
14 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

I think in the case of the Gower Peninsular the benefit is the majority of people who go there and live there…being Welsh.

You are always criticising tourist attractions, you obviously haven’t seen how many Welsh people go there.

Last edited 14 days ago by Hedda Mulgrew
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
14 days ago
Reply to  Hedda Mulgrew

This wasn’t about race or nationality until you brought it up. Obviously the Welsh have the right to visit parts of their own country. The issue is that overtourism, from Cymru and beyond, is bound to bring negative changes to any beauty spot.

Hedda Mulgrew
Hedda Mulgrew
14 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

So if the Welsh are visting their “own” country, it’s benefitting them.

Gwrch!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
14 days ago
Reply to  Hedda Mulgrew

You’re right, all holiday-makers benefit by getting away from it all.

Hedda Mulgrew
Hedda Mulgrew
14 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

So there is no point getting proprietorial and resentful.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
13 days ago
Reply to  Hedda Mulgrew

Certainly not. About what in particular?

Hedda Mulgrew MSc (Econ)
Hedda Mulgrew MSc (Econ)
13 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

About Sais setting foot on the major.

Cos they aren’t going away time soon.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
13 days ago

It’s already been pointed out to you that this wasn’t about race or nationality until you brought it up.

Hedda Mulgrew MSc (Econ)
Hedda Mulgrew MSc (Econ)
13 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Never is with you is it?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
13 days ago

Ond pob amser gyda chi, dw i’n teimlo. Pam dach chi ddim yn licio’r Cymri? Ydy testun hwn dim ond ail tai a thwrystiaid.

Hedda Mulgrew MSc (Econ)
Hedda Mulgrew MSc (Econ)
12 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Nid wyfyn hoffi cenedlaetholwyyr “bigoted”

fel chi…?

Try harder, yeah? It’s easier than you think.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
12 days ago

“Rhagfarnllyd”. I doubt if it’s on Google Translate. And try not to be so fixated with ethnicity and nationality. It shouldn’t be dominating your life in this way, sir.

Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
12 days ago

Anglesey is going the same way

gillian townshend
gillian townshend
9 days ago

Everyone seems to miss the point with this. It’s a double edged sword.  Get rid of investors and tourism and you have no income, places become affordable because they are dives with no job opportunities, saying it prices locals out. Actually, you’ll find it’s a world wide property issue. Any “nice” (meaning pretty and low crime area with work) is unaffordable but driving people who keep jobs coming is not the answer.  Everyone likes to point the finger and play the blame game but it’s a bigger problem than what seems to be people saying without saying “keep Wales for… Read more »

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