Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Tourism
Visit Wales started the year with a high-profile presence at Britain and Ireland Marketplace (BIM) 2024, a major international business-to-business event in London last week. As part of VisitBritain’s Showcase Britain, an add-on to the BIM event, Visit Wales has worked with colleagues in VisitBritain to secure a four-day Wales familiarisation visit from 17 key US tour operators.
The US operators are visiting a wide range of destinations, from Wrexham to St Davids and Caernarfon to Cardiff. As they travel through Wales, staying in a selection of outstanding hotels, their stops will include some of Wales’ signature destinations, all of whom are keen to develop their international travel trade business. This includes Conwy Castle, Penderyn Distillery, Portmeirion, Halen Mon, The Royal Mint Experience, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Nantgarw China Works and Museum, A Welsh Coal Mining Experience and Llancaiach Fawr Manor.
The growth of inbound (international) business, which typically involves longer stays and attracts a higher spend than domestic tourism business, is aided by inclusion in tour operator programmes. During the trip the operators will meet 30 Wales suppliers, some of whom attended BIM under the Visit Wales umbrella, to explore business opportunities.
All this comes at a time when Visit Wales consumer marketing activity is programmed to keep Wales in front of potential visitors who are starting to think about their 2024 breaks. The Awydd Antur campaign – meaning “Let’s get out there” – was launched on Boxing Day. I hope you have had an opportunity to see the new advert, whether on television, social media or at key London locations.