THE number of people visiting Wales from overseas has dropped dramatically over the past four years, new figures have shown.

In 2022, there were a total of 686,000 inbound visits to Wales - with 33 per cent fewer  when compared to 2019. Meanwhile, those who did visit spent 24 per cent less - a total of £391 - compared with 2019.

According to the figures, visits for leisure purposes, as well as visiting friends and relatives, took a particular dive, dropping by 43 per cent.

One of Gwent's most popular attractions is Big Pit in Blaenavon.

However, Amgueddfa Cymru, which runs Big Pit along with six other museums in Wales, said visitor numbers had recovered significantly since the Covid-19 pandemic, with 1.3 million visitors between April 2022 and March this year - representing 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

South Wales Argus: Rob BasiniRob Basini (Image: Supplied)

South Wales development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Rob Basini expressed concern over the figures, saying: "The recent figures on Welsh tourism paint a concerning picture with the fall in visitors to Wales."

He highlighted the adverse impact of the wettest summer since 2009 on these businesses, compounded by inflated costs and the loss of energy support in April.

Mr Basini also called on the Welsh Government to re-examine plans which could see a tourism levy introduced in Wales, saying: "Now isn’t the time to add a sector-focused tax, while there is so much at stake".

"Like many, businesses in these industries are already facing significantly inflated costs, while also dealing with the loss of energy support in April and are particularly sensitive to reduced customer spend because of cost-of-living pressures," he said. "While the weather has proved challenging, the businesses we speak to everyday say the cost of doing business crisis is the more immediate concern.

"We believe that Wales has a lot to offer visitors. It’s important that the tourism industry is safeguarded through what is proving to be a challenging time for small businesses."

The decline in visitor numbers and spending in Wales is the most significant in the UK.