Welsh Government caves in on allowing underground attractions to reopen

A cave. Picture by Llinos Dafydd.

The Wesh Government have announced that underground attractions in Wales will be allowed to reopen.

The Welsh Conservatives had earlier written to the government petitioning them to reopen the nation’s showcaves.

First Minister Mark Drakeford had said two weeks ago that a small number of underground visitor attractions would remain closed for the time being because of the higher risks associated with these environments.

But today Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed that they could reopen.

The Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, write earlier to the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism.

The National Showcaves for Wales Centre was one of Wales’ top attractions and is a significant job-provider for the region, she said. Dan Yr Ogof Showcaves are one of the largest complexes of its kind in the UK, with over 16km of passageways.

 

‘Detrimental’

In her letter Janet Finch-Saunders said that natural wonders had already been allowed to reopen in every other part of the United Kingdom, having been deemed safe.

“Showcaves are not like coal mines, copper mines, lead mines or slate quarries,” she said. They are entirely natural and have air currents that are continuously being circulated and vented through the limestone’s natural jointing systems.

“As I have repeatedly explained to the Welsh Government, the widespread cancellation of bookings made by tour groups at such anchor attractions in Wales is set to have a detrimental impact on the Wales wide tourist sector.

“The Welsh Government’s refusal to allow our showcaves to reopen has already contributed to the loss of over forty jobs, with questions being raised as to the future of this vitally important visitors Centre. An immediate about-turn in policy is necessary for this vital venue to survive.”

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