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Drive to attract tourists to Wales could boost economy by £19 million

Drive to attract tourists to Wales could boost economy by £19 million
31 Oct 2014

A drive that attracts visitors to visit the historical sites of Wales could boost the country’s economy by £19 million per year, a new report has shown.

Research undertaken by the heritage body Cadw and Cardiff Business School found that since the Heritage Tourism Project (HTP) launched in 2009, the ‘visitor experience’ has improved across more than 40 heritage sites. This was partly driven by various initiatives which helped to create better exhibitions and websites.

Now a study by Cardiff University’s Business School’s Welsh Economy Research Unit has predicted that the economy could have benefitted by £19 million per year from the number of tourist visits, in turn supporting more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

Since the HTP was created, Blaenavon Ironworks, which is a World Heritage Site based in Torfaen, saw an increase in visitors of 14.2%. Conwy Castle, which saw the HTP refurbish its visitor centre and visitors being offered better information about Edward I and the links between the castle to the country’s wider history, recorded that their visitors increased by 8.3%.

Encouragingly enough, Llandudno Museum, Great Orme Country Park Visitor Centre and the Great Orme Ancient Mines in Conwy also saw one of their busiest summers ever on record since they received funding from the HTP. Collectively, all three sites pulled in more than 86,000 visitors.

The study also estimated that approximately £15.2 million was spent with more than 260 full-time jobs supported during the building work to improve the heritage sites.

Ken Skates, deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism said: "Wales' diverse historic environment is a huge pull for tourists, and it is as important as ever that we look to maximise the very real opportunities that heritage can offer to strengthen our economy."

Prof Max Munday, of the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University's Business School, added: "These findings give us a valuable insight into the return on investment we get from improving our historical assets in Wales."ADNFCR-408-ID-801757938-ADNFCR

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