‘Tourism must be done by and not to people of Wales’ warns Senedd Member
A Senedd Member has warned that “tourism must be done by and not to the people of Wales” after a body that represents all sectors of tourism industry in Wales appointed a new Chair.
Former Conservative shadow minister Suzy Davies was announced as the chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance.
Suzy Davies, who previously served as Shadow Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Welsh Language, said that: “Wales is ripe for further economic, environmentally savvy development and its visitor economy and tourism is core to that development”.
But Plaid Cymru MS Luke Fletcher expressed concern that the tourism was not “extractive”.
“The importance of the tourism industry on Wales is undisputed, but for too long Wales has been exploited by outside interests – the type of extractive tourism that uses Wales as a resource,” he said.
“While the new chair’s focus on the environment and sustainability is to be applauded, I would caution ‘Who is the development for?’ I’m sure many people share the ambition of seeing Wales as a top-quality, sustainable tourism destination, but this development must happen with communities it most impacts.
“Plaid Cymru has long called for tourist enterprises which provide maximum benefit to local communities, and I would like to see more focus on exploring ways of increasing local ownership and control of the industry.”
Suzy Davies takes over from Professor Andrew Campbell, who has spent more than three years as the chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance.
She said that she had a “lifelong desire for the world to see how wonderful this country is, I am excited to be joining such committed, experienced people who want to be part of a proud and successful Wales”.
“The industry has risen to the challenge of Covid magnificently, but the surge in domestic visitor numbers this year cannot blind us to the fragility of the sector’s infrastructure,” she added.
“Busy today is not the same as sustainable long term. We want the visitor economy to make a stable, balanced, desirable and valuable contribution to the nation’s collective wellbeing. Tourism, hospitality, skills providers and local authorities – and Welsh Government – all recognise the challenges and the opportunities.
“WTA is the collective voice of the industry in Wales. Failure to listen to it will mean failure to meet those challenges or to capitalise on those opportunities – and none of us wants that.”
Professor Andrew Campbell said the Covid-19 pandemic had been a “challenging time” for the industry and that he wanted to “pay tribute to all tourism businesses and agencies in Wales for displaying such resilience in the face of profound adversity”.
“My thanks also to all at the WTA for their support during the last three years, in particular the efforts of policy advocate, Adrian Greason-Walker for his valuable advice and counsel at all times.”
WTA board member, Barbara Griffiths, said: “Professor Campbell has gone above and beyond normal expectations over the last 18 months supporting the whole of the tourism industry in Wales, for which we are extremely grateful.
“We now look forward with great pleasure to working with Suzy Davies who has experience in the Senedd and whose family runs a tourism business.”