AS CHAIRMAN of the Assembly enterprise and business committee, I am pleased the committee is undertaking a consultation on tourism in Wales.
Although we have just experienced the wettest winter on record, the summer months of 2013 were good for our tourism industry.
Visits from those living in the UK to Wales grew by nearly eight per cent, and spending by this group of tourists was £1.4 billion.
Wales has always been an attractive holiday location for UK tourists. This is demonstrated by an average of 8 million visits each year for residents of other UK countries.
However, we need to realise our potential to attract international visitors to our country. Welsh tourism businesses will cast a keen eye towards London which has now become, following the 2012 Olympics, the most popular tourism destination in the world.
This is why, in our region, we must fully capitalise upon the NATO Summit. We need to fully understand that this will be a significant event for promoting the tourism industry in South East Wales and we must realise its widest potential.
I have previously commented on the unique opportunities arising from the discovery of the Newport Medieval Ship. But there are numerous other attractions that are often overlooked (in making a list – someone will always point out omissions) such as the Transporter Bridge, St Woolos Cathedral or Tredegar House.
We have a wide ranging historic, social and industrial heritage which, because they have become part of our everyday lives, we often fail to acknowledge their value.
I will ensure that the enterprise and business committee consultation will examine how we market and develop tourism in Wales.
How we can make the most of our cultural, historical and natural assets; together with maximising the benefits arising from major events on Wales’s tourism economy.
I have repeatedly called for the Minister to take action to address incidents of arson, notably grass fires – but also occurrences like the fire at Caldicot School.
I appreciate that our fire and rescue services have implemented initiatives to help tackle this matter, however I believe all members of our communities should become active in eradicating this problem.
It is vital that those who start these fires understand that arson is not a victimless crime; it can cause substantial damage to property, and to wildlife. It also places our fire service personnel and the arsonists themselves in some danger.