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Following a year of celebrating Wales’ epic shoreline during Year of the Sea, the tourism industry in Wales is now gearing up for Year of Discovery 2019.

First published:
21 December 2018
Last updated:

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

2018 was a celebration of Wales’ coastline and routes to the sea and during Year of the Sea Wales successfully hosted the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time; became the world’s first refill nation; and a celebration of Welsh language and Culture was held at the Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay. A variety of events were also held across Wales from the Gower Beach Sculpture Festival to the creation of a giant 20-metre long sea-faring monster from Cardigan and the Keep Wales Tidy All Wales Beach Clean.  2018 was also a year for immersive coastal theatrical productions with National Theatre Wales’ The Tide Whisperer and Marc Rees’s Now the Hero/Nawr yr Arwr.

Lord Elis-Thomas, said: 

“I’d like to thank the industry for their support during the Year of the Sea as well as during the previous themed years.  By coming together and working in partnership Wales has a strong voice – in a very competitive marketplace. We know that our themed year campaigns are generating over £350m a year in the economy and that the 2018 television advert, featuring Luke Evans, was positively received by our target audiences. 

“And now we will embark on our Year of Discovery. In 2019 we want to encourage our visitors to discover Wales anew, to discover new parts of Wales and to try out enriching outdoor, adventure and cultural experiences across the country. 

“Wales is full of hidden corners; as well as world-famous attractions. And so the challenge is set to visit places you have never been before; or to try something for the very first time. Go coasteering or zip-lining; tick off more of Wales’s 600 castles from your must-see list; or to visit one of our galleries or museums to learn something new about our past. Sain Ffagan’s new £30 million redevelopment is a great place to start.”  

And as well as encouraging the people of Wales to discover new corners of our landscape, we’re also encouraging international visitors to explore more of our country. The Wales Way (external link) – a trio of national touring routes with loops and detours of discovery – was launched last year to help them on their way.

A multi-media international campaign on the theme of discovery will run throughout 2019, with activity planned in Wales, across the rest of UK, Ireland and international markets. The campaign will be on digital, television, on on-demand platforms, and in key travel hubs from January here in Wales - with the main marketing push across the rest of the UK taking place in March around the key holiday booking times.

Further events and activities are planned throughout the year – with more details to be announced early in 2019. The Deputy Minister will kick-start Year of Discovery 2019 with visits to west Wales on January7th.