Price calls for an end to ‘extractive tourism’ and says industry must work for Wales’ communities
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has called for an end to “exploitative” and “extractive” tourism and called for the industry to be developed in a way that helps Welsh communities.
He said that if his party wins the next Senedd election it would create a National Academy for Welsh tourism that puts Welsh culture at the fore.
The National Academy, consisting of on-site hotel and conference centre, would provide ‘hands-on’ learning to students in catering and hospitality from apprenticeships to degree level courses.
Developing skills and ideas for the tourism sector in the National Academy will allow increased control of the tourism sector by the local community, Adam Price said.
“Welsh culture is alive and thriving, yet in comparison our tourism industry has been left to wither,” he said.
“Our National Academy for tourism will provide hands-on experience for students and – crucially – will ensure that young people see that their region can provide a wide range of progressive career opportunities.
“By nurturing the abundance of talent in our western coastal region, this will enable local job creation and strengthen local ownership of the tourism sector.
“For too long, Wales has been exploited by outside interest – the type of extractive tourism that uses Wales as a resource. A Plaid Cymru government will encourage tourist enterprises which provide maximum benefit to local communities.
“Our culture is rich, diverse and evolving, and our tourism industry should reflect that.”
His comments come after the last year has seen a long-running conversation on the impact of tourism, particularly on Wales’ west coast.
Language pressure group Cylch yr Iaith have called on the Welsh Government to recognise that parts of Wales are suffering from over-tourism.
“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.
Gwynedd Council leader Dyfrig Siencyn has also suggested that parts of the county may be suffering from “over-tourism”.
There were calls last year for a clampdown on campervans and motorhomes “parking where they like” in parts of rural Gwynedd and a need for bigger fines for motorists dangerously blocking highways near beauty spots.
Scenes showing hundreds of cars partially blocking some of the region’s highways made headlines over the spring and summer as visitors flocked to Gwynedd beauty spots, with 180 fixed penalty notices issued in just one day at Pen-y-Pass on Snowdon.
The Welsh Conservatives have defended the present tourism industry and said on Thursday that they feared Labour would introduce a tourism tax if Labour win re-election next month.
“I fear that another hammer blow from Labour ministers could signal the end to some businesses in Wales – and the fear of a tourism tax continues to linger across Wales,” they said.