Bridgend Council’s cabinet is set to discuss a new four-year plan to develop the county as a tourist destination (pdf).
According to economic models, in 2016 tourism was worth £329.8million to the local economy and supports 4,228 jobs, with the country attracting 3.83million visitors the same year (Owen: I don’t know who or what type of visits they’re counting as “tourism” here to be completely honest), as seen below:
The report notes that since 2013 there’s been a “progressive increase” in the importance of tourism to the local economy.
- Supporting the development of tourism through improved accommodation and better attractions. This includes small-scale tourist accommodation and high-quality self-catering accommodation (i.e. glamping, farm cottages), as well as developing food tourism and advertising local produce on menus etc.
- Developing tourist infrastructure, including improvements to the coastal path to link with nearby attractions/features, providing better facilities for watersports in Porthcawl, and supporting street events in Porthcawl, Bridgend and Maesteg. Maesteg could also be a “hub” for cycling and outdoor activities as part of a proposed holiday park in the Afan Valley.
- Raise the profile of Bridgend county. Plans include a website upgrade, undertaking thorough market research and working to host events of “national significance”.
Some of Bridgend’s tourist “pull factors” identified in the plan include:
- A “diverse offer” with lots of potentials that isn’t quite being exploited yet.
- Outdoor activities with the potential for further development like watersports and golf.
- An enthusiastic belief that there is a future for tourism in the county, as well as an aspiration to work to improve the offer for tourists.
All of this will require close working with the tourist sector in the county and national bodies like Visit Wales, as well as ensuring the council themselves have the right expertise and policies in place to support events. The plan will also focus more on attracting tourists from the rest of the UK rather than internationally.
The plan sets a target for 2% overall growth each year for the next five years.