Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy
As we approach the main summer holiday period, and in the context of requests for additional marketing support at this time from many of our industry stakeholders, I’m pleased to be updating Members on activity currently being delivered by Visit Wales. Implementation, under the Cymru Wales brand, will build on the work already in place, to further assist businesses in their post pandemic recovery.
From a fresh marketing campaign, “Croeso,” to tools that will help operators enhance their own promotion and skills, the range of work has been put in place to support the tourism and hospitality sectors that play such significant roles within the wider Welsh economy. This month, the Croeso campaign, using the Cymru Wales brand and its focus on landscape, culture and adventure, is showing those currently considering a break the diversity of experiences on offer in Wales this summer.
Welsh Government wants to see a thriving industry and a strong recovery from the pandemic across these sectors that together represent more than a tenth of the Welsh workforce. We are fully aware that there are both short-term and long-term challenges facing businesses, such as the cost-of-living crisis, energy costs and skills and recruitment gaps and this work has been planned to help keep Wales visible as a potential holiday destination for this year and beyond, stimulating consumer interest and encouraging booking enquiries.
The latest Business Barometer https://gov.wales/tourism-barometer-june-wave-2022published today, shows that over 75% of Welsh tourism businesses saw an increase or maintained visitor levels over the May half term. However, we know from those 900 businesses interviewed that there are also challenges ahead with regard to the outlook this summer, as there are across the UK, for both operators and consumers. Last year, the sector recovery plan activity delivered raised the importance of both managing and stimulating demand at key periods based on outlook, and following feedback such as the above from stakeholders and a climate of extreme competition from other UK destinations, Croeso campaign activity has been put in place this summer.
Running across TV, video on demand and digital across the UK since early June, the Croeso advert features a “sunrise to sunset” example of a day in Wales. Using locations and products from across the country, the material features a variety of experiences, from dolphin spotting boat trips and great accommodation to eating out and music gigs.
Visit Wales has not traditionally run a campaign at this time of year and this additional activity sits alongside our other support for industry in their first year of recovery. This includes collaboration with Superfast Business Wales to help promote and encourage digital training to enable operators to stay on top of their marketing and, also, enabling the introduction of Tourism Exchange Great Britain (TXGB) for businesses in Wales. TXGB, linked to VisitBritain and also being used by Tourism Northern Ireland, allows the option of better access to online sales channels at lower commission rates, so a business can promote their offering cost-effectively and drive more direct bookings.
Visit Wales activity aims to keep Wales visible all year round. In the last 12 months you will have seen a strong focus, as outlined in the Welcome to Wales strategy and its concentration on addressing the “3 “Ss” (i.e., Seasonality, Spend, Spread) on also promoting visits outside the peak holiday periods .E.g. The Winter campaign drew positive attention from both industry and media for showcasing a winter experience and its approach to highlighting Wales’ welcome and inclusivity.
There will also be opportunities to show that welcome in our work to capitalise on major events in forthcoming months, from the internationally renowned WWE wrestling event coming to Cardiff this September to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November and December. With football fans across the globe following the tournament, it will be a perfect stage to raise awareness of the fantastic experiences Wales offers to visitors, across all our audiences whether established or new and both at home and abroad.