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The Barometer assesses business confidence in the Welsh tourism industry and provides indicative results at national, regional and sectoral level for February wave 2024.

2023 was quite a challenging year for the industry

  • One in four (25%) businesses had more visitors in 2023 compared to 2022, and 42% had the same level. However, one third (33%) had fewer. 
  • Attractions performed well in 2023, with 42% increasing their visitor numbers and about a further third (34%) achieving the same level. At the other end of the scale, the self-catering sector struggled the most, with 19% increasing visitor levels but 42% reporting to be down.

Some differences by region

  • North Wales and South East Wales each received about the same level of visitors in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • In South West Wales, 23% of business had more visitors, but 36% had fewer. In Mid Wales, 20% of businesses had more visitors, whereas 37% had fewer. The higher proportion of self-catering businesses in the Mid & South West sample in order to reflect the business population is the primary reason for regional differences.

Winter occupancy levels

  • The average occupancy levels in relation to available capacity among serviced businesses were 48% in November, 49% in December and 37% in January. Average occupancy levels among self-catering businesses were 38% in November, 39% in December and 28% in January.

Some reasons to be positive

  • The top three unprompted answers to the question, ‘Are there any particular reasons to be positive about business this year?’ are ‘high level of repeat customers’ (18%), ‘own marketing’ (15%) and ‘improved product / offering’ (12%). However, the most frequent answer is ‘there is nothing to be positive about’ (32%). 

High costs and Welsh Government policies dominate concerns

  • ‘High operating costs’ (32% unprompted) and the related macro-economic issue ‘people lacking in disposable income’ (22%) are key concerns among businesses this year. ‘Welsh Government policies’ (30%) are the other key concern. 
  • Respondents citing more than one concern have been asked which one will impact on their business the most. When narrowed down to one, ‘Welsh Government policies’ are the single biggest concern among self-catering operators, and high operating costs are the biggest concern in all other sectors.

Welsh language use in work

  • Two in five businesses (40%) have at least one person using Welsh regularly in work. This proportion is much higher in North Wales (60%) and Mid Wales (40%) than in South West Wales (26%) and South East Wales (21%).

Confidence to run profitably

  • 14% of operators are ‘very confident’ about running the business profitably this year and 50% are ‘fairly confident’. 


Tourism Barometer: February Wave, 2024 , file type: PDF, file size: 1 MB

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Phil Nelson

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