A pressure group have called for the Welsh Government to recognise that parts of Wales are suffering from overtourism.
Cylch yr Iaith pointed to roads lined with illegally parked cars in Snowdonia, which they said had highlighted Wales’ damaging relationship with tourism.
They said that central and local governments had promoted unmanageable overtourism, which emphasizes attracting the most visitors, regardless of the environmental, social or cultural expense.
“It shows us how tourism can open up an area for visitors, and closes it for people who live there,” Howard Huws, Cylch yr Iaith’s Welsh Tourism Campaign Co-ordinator said.
“If local people wanted to visit these places, their own area, they couldn’t, in the absence of any parking space. If they wanted to buy a home in a popular tourist spot, they couldn’t, because the demand for holiday homes has pushed the price beyond their resources.
“Overtourism kills our communities, and the most responsible for this are the ones who are least willing to admit it and stop it.
“The Welsh Government and local authorities have set it as a cornerstone of the Welsh economy and are entrenched in a state of economic dependence. Now as its effects become more apparent, they are offering ridiculously superficial solutions, such as building more car parks.
“That is, destroying the very environment that attracts the visitors, in order to accommodate more of them.
“Nothing could so well illustrate how foolish it is to promote tourism as a means of sustaining a community and country, how slow and inadequate the response to its after-effects is, and how disastrous the lack of vision and lack of effort to provide alternative means of maintenance.”
Cylch yr Iaith calls on the Welsh Government and local authorities to:
- Realize and acknowledge that Wales is already suffering from over-tourism
- That the policy of maximizing tourism is eroding rather than sustaining communities
- The need to develop and provide an alternative, more consistent, more reliable means of economic support
- The need o set and implement guidelines that make planning permission for tourist developments subject to the welfare of Welsh speaking communities
- The need to intervene in the housing market to ensure that second homes and holiday accommodation do not exceed 10% of the housing stock of any particular community.
“For decades, governments and local authorities have ignored expert testimony about the dangers of over-tourism and holiday homes,” a spokesperson for Cylch yr Iaith said.
“Now the situation has been exposed to them in a way that they cannot ignore. We call on them, therefore, to take immediate action to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Welsh speaking communities.”