NORTH AND MID WALES ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS
TOURISM IN WALES
The current Tourism Plan to promote Tourism in Wales is via 4 Regional Tourism Partnerships. (North, Mid, South and South East)
These partnerships are funded by the Welsh Assembly in the sum of approx £2.5m.
The proposals put forward for consideration are based around:
Promoting the Brand
CURRENT TOURISM PLAN
The reasons for change are set out below:
Following the establishment of the new Tourism Advisory Board it is vitally important that the national/regional structures align themselves to provide a clarity of strategic direction for the tourism sector.
The allocation of Welsh Government funding between the regions has remained stable throughout the period, and it may be the case that opportunities that now exist in the regions could be better supported through a different approach.
There appears to be no optimal structure for providing effective public sector support for the tourism sector, as evidenced by the variety of approaches taken across the UK and wider afield. It is important that we identify what’s right for Wales and what will help deliver the Strategy.
Drawing upon private sector advice has led to the development of work on City Regions, Enterprise Zones, Local Growth Zones and Business Improvement Districts – a new spatial context to focusing efforts across the Welsh Government and working in partnership.
The strategic challenges for the tourism sector in Wales are not solely for the Welsh Government. Realising the growth target that has been set will only happen if the business community, partners and key stakeholders work together. Success depends on ever greater resilience and agility.
Finally, austerity measures are impacting significantly upon Welsh Government and local authority resources. It is important that resources are used to deliver the broadest impact and good value for money.’
Taking into account the above the Minister has put forward options for change.
OPTIONS FOR TOURISM PLAN
There are five options to be considered which are:
1. Do nothing – continue with the current structure of regional engagement.
2. Establish a regional engagement team within Visit Wales to replace Regional Tourism Partnerships.
3. Procure services by competitive tender, for regional engagement.
4. Develop a new regional engagement model that aligns with emerging regional economic development initiatives and procure specified services by competitive tender.
5. Discontinue funding the Regional Tourism Partnerships while continuing to encourage and support effective local partnerships to develop within the sector.
The questions being asked in the consultation together with suggested answers are as follows:
Q1 How do you think the Welsh Government should make best use of resources to support tourism across Wales?
The Welsh Government should provide a level of funding to support an active Tourism Partnership Network. The suggested funding levels are shown on the attached sheet. Delivery should be by appointing a private company to administer the Tourist approach adopted.
Q2 In your opinion, which of the above options would best support delivery of the strategy?
Option 1 and 3 Based upon the existing 4 regional tourism partnerships but with a company tendering for delivery of the Welsh Governments objectives.
Q3 Why do you think this is the best option?
In these times best value must be demonstrated. It is suggested that the retention of the 4 partnerships is important and that they should be funded more modestly.
Q4 What do you think should be the priorities for supporting tourism at a regional level in the future?
The most important feature of any scheme is engagement. Local partnerships should be set up of local business, local councils, local tourist attractions and interested parties with an executive elected from those groups to create and operate local partnership working. Such smaller groups (which is more effective than larger ones) would then send a representative (or two) to the regional partnership who would then operate on a regional basis.
The regional partnership would then report direct to Government. The need for Visit Wales is questioned.
Q5 How could a new structure align effectively with emerging regional economic development initiatives?
Whichever basis of delivery of Tourism support in Wales is chosen they should be able to deliver the objectives with guidelines fromWelsh Government to work to.
Notes The need for a network of Tourist Information Offices in key locations offering the full service is recognised and an important part of any service delivery. These centres would in turn need to support the Tourist Points (leaflets with volunteer support) in other locations by some direct funding. If there were 20 hub Tourist Information centres over Wales this should cost no more than £600,000 if run by Local Organisations or Councils.
With both the Regional Tourism Partnerships and the TIC support there is still a saving (in our view) of approx £1.7m on the current budget. (£2.5m less £800,000)
The Association is prepared to give oral evidence if the Welsh Government felt that this would be helpful.
R A Robinson FRICS AILCM
7th February 2014
SUGGESTED FUNDING FOR TOURISM IN WALES
Each of the 4 current Regional Areas should remain with funding for each as follows:
Grant Aid from W.G. £190,000
Grant Aid for TIC service £600,000
Advertising Revenue £10,000
Staffing for meeting co-ord £50,000
Office support £50,000
Publicity and marketing £50,000
Web Site development £10,000
Paper based material £25,000
Other initiatives £15,000
TIC Support £600,000
Total cost (4 areas) partnerships is £ 800,000 and not the £2.5m as currently is the case.