NEWS that the amount of money brought into Gwent amounts to something like £1bn over the past two years is welcome.

It is also encouraging that more was spent in the area by tourists last year than in 2012.

But these facts should also serve as a warning to councils which are under pressure to keep finances tight and reduce non-essential spending - a balance needs to be found when cutting back.

There is much to see and do in the area, with some great tourist attractions.

There is the natural beauty of the Wye Valley and Cwmcarn Forest Drive; historical attractions like the area's many castles and Tintern Abbey; attractions based on our industrial heritage, including Big Pit and Newport Transporter Bridge, plus events like the Abergavenny Food Festival and Newport's Big Splash event.

In addition, at a local level there are many other things going on which can serve to keep visitors interested in the area - in today's Argus, for example, in addition to the daily What's On page, there are six pages of reports on community events.

While careful planning and funded development of key attractions make sure that our history is preserved and made interesting for visitors, we also need to make sure that we don't cut back too much on funding events which encourage visitors to spend money here which can boost our local economy, as at some stage such cutbacks may stifle visitor spending to the extent that they are counter-productive.