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The Lonely Planet’s listing for North Wales as one of the best places in the word to visit in 2017 was an excellent way for Wales’ Year of Adventure 2016 to draw to a close

First published:
1 November 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has recently approved funding for two projects which will further boost Wales’ credentials as an outdoor adventure destination. 

The latest addition to the Zip World family in Betws y Coed and a new Wakeboard Park in Pembrokeshire are recipients of the funding, which will see new attractions ready for the 2017 season. 

The Zip World Fforest Coaster will be the first of its kind in the UK. It is designed to run on rails that skirt through trees on elevated tracks. The adventure will offer fun all year. This type of toboggan run has proved an outstanding success in ski areas across Europe, Asia and America, with its all-weather capability. The 1km long Alpine Coaster will open early 2017 and received £320,000 through the Tourism Investment Support Scheme. 

Sean Taylor, Commercial Director, says, 

“The Alpine Coaster is a gravity driven ride with toboggan cars on elevated tracks running through the existing trees at Zip World Fforest.

“The course will be over 1 kilometre long and will give families and adventure seekers the ultimate thrill, descending through the trees overlooking the beautiful Conwy Valley.

“Adventure tourism is booming in north Wales. In fact,  we are so confident in its future that we are investing £5.5million over the next 12 months to help consolidate its rightful position as an adventure capital.

“The next year alone sees us unveil a £1.5million Alpine rollercoaster, bringing yet another UK-first to the area.  A recent economic impact study on Zip World revealed that since 2013, Zip World attractions has generated £121 million for the north Wales economy and created more than 218 jobs with over 93% of these jobs going to local people.  We believe that we have a winning formula -: our world-class customer service; innovative adventures and our ability to leverage Snowdonia’s beauty to create an unforgettable visitor experience.”

Meanwhile in west Wales, sibling  team, Sarah, Mark and Stephanie Harris are taking their passion for wakeboarding and turning it in to a new adventure business which will be the first of it’s kind for Pembrokeshire.

The Welsh Government through the Tourism Investment Support Scheme has supported the development of the Pembrokeshire Wake Park with £28,544 of funding. The facility will be located near Oakwood and Bluestone National Park Resort.  

Pembrokeshire Wake Park’s lake will house two cable systems, allowing customers an easy and fun way to learn to wakeboard. The systems are designed to provide wakeboarders with an upward pull, effortless starts, a smooth ride and an ability to perform tricks. 

There will be two courses, one for beginners and a more advanced course for experienced wakeboarders, both will receive guidance from qualified coaches, ensuring everyone has an unforgettable experience. The location is considered to be ideal for visitors and will provide access to the latest equipment, ensuring the opportunity to wakeboard in a safe, engaging and controlled environment.  

The water-based activity is accessible irrespective of weather conditions and is suitable for all ages and abilities. On top of the opportunity to wakeboard and the spectacular views of the Preseli Mountains, families and adrenaline seekers will also have access to a café and shop and various other activities such as open water swimming and stand up paddle boarding.  

The new facility is due to open in the Spring 2017 and work will commence in November 2016, Sarah Harris, said: 

“Being born and brought up in Pembrokeshire gave us a taste of adventure. Most of our childhood was spent participating in various sports and our weekends were occupied by the outdoors. As we grew up we realised the potential that Pembrokeshire has as a tourist hot spot, alongside the unspoiled coast line and country side we knew we’d like to set up our business here. We are proud of our county and wished to share our passion with visitors, acting as ambassadors for everything Pembrokeshire has to offer. We are now officially directors of Pembrokeshire Wake Park Ltd and from here the serious work begins.” 

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, said: 

“Although the Year of Adventure is now coming to a close we are still committed to developing and investing in this fast growing sector of the tourism economy.  The Year of Adventure has shown that Wales is world class adventure destination, the Lonely Planet’s listing of north Wales as number four in their ten best places in the world to visit in 2017 is the icing on the cake, especially as they mentioned the way the former industrial landscape has been reinvented and repurposed to create a series of truly world class attractions. This recognition is testimony to the commitment and partnership working between public and private sector to deliver a world class visitor experience.”