Welsh Government travel restrictions ‘pandering to anti-English sentiments’ says Conservative MS
The Welsh Government’s Covid-19 travel restrictions have been “pandering to anti-English sentiments” according to a Conservative Senedd member.
Writing for the Welsh Conservative Gwydir website, Darren Millar said that their restrictions had made tourists “feel unwelcome” and holiday elsewhere.
He encouraged the Welsh Government to “learn from their mistakes” and open up Wales hospitality and tourist attractions at the same time as the UK Government were doing in England.
He said that “last year Labour kept tourism businesses and attractions closed in Wales for longer than elsewhere in the UK and pandered to anti-English sentiments by shutting the Welsh border”.
“This approach led to many tourists choosing to holiday elsewhere and feeling unwelcome.
“Regrettably, it appears that Labour Ministers may not have learnt from these mistakes with tourism businesses in Wales set to miss out on trade yet again.
“With just a few weeks left until Easter, tourism businesses are desperate to know when they can reopen.
“In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out a roadmap with an indicative date of 12th April for people to stay overnight away from home, but when I challenged the Tourism Minister on this in the Senedd this week, he said the Welsh Government will not be announcing any dates for reopening, leaving the tourism sector in Wales in limbo yet again.”
During the week Darren Millar had called on Welsh Government to provide Welsh holiday parks with clarity on reopening times.
He asked deputy tourism minister Dafydd Elis-Thomas at the Senedd: “As you will know, in Conwy and Denbighshire, we rely heavily on tourism as an industry, and we have amongst the very best holiday caravan sites and campsites in the whole of the United Kingdom.
“Operators tell me that it’s very important that they have a clear understanding of when they will be able to reopen again, and if there is going to be a phased reopening, it does need to be cognisant of the fact that many people are owners of the caravans on those individual sites and will want to avail themselves of the facilities that they are paying for.
“What is your estimation is of the dates on which these holiday caravan parks will be able to reopen their businesses so that people can plan to enjoy their holidays once again here in Wales?”
In response, Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: “We have taken a firm line that everything we do has to be within the context of public health.
“I’m aware that our neighbouring Government in England has decided to announce dates.
“Welsh Government will not be announcing dates, and I certainly don’t intend to announce this afternoon any dates.
“But I will certainly take on board your point that we should make sure that all our businesses who provide such a valuable way of enjoying the Welsh countryside, as is provided by the caravan and camping sites—that all these businesses are informed in good time when opening will happen.”