In 2015 the Welsh Government published its international agenda: Wales in the World. Since then, the international landscape has changed dramatically creating the need for a new refocused strategy that sets out an international vision for Wales.
Over the past six months, the Welsh Government has engaged with stakeholders to develop and inform its thinking around the strategy. The continuing uncertainty of Brexit, the lack of clarity on our relationship with our nearest neighbours, and the protracted EU withdrawal negotiations have added significant delay and difficulty to the drafting of this international strategy. The draft is the product of a stakeholder engagement process and this consultation seeks your views on our proposed approach to internationalisation.
With the consultation closing on 23 October, just one week from the UK’s extended deadline to leave the European Union, the final strategy will need to have a degree of flexibility built into it, and will have to adapt to the circumstances at the time of publication, in response to the ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ scenarios which will be clearer after 31 October. The Welsh Government are asking us to consider the following four questions:
Question 1: The three goals set out in the strategy are:
-to raise Wales’ international profile
-increase exports and inward investment
-showcase Wales as a globally responsible nation.
These goals have been developed to bring coordinated outcomes to the international work being undertaken by the Welsh Government and its partners. Do you agree with these goals? Are there any other goals that should be considered?
Question 2: People – the strategy highlights the important role that our people and cultural organisations, in Wales and overseas, can play in raising Wales’ international profile.
Do you agree with the ambitions set out in this chapter? Do you think they will deliver the key goal to raise Wales’ international profile?
Question 3: Products – Wales has a strong global commercial relationship both in terms of exports and attracting inward investment. The strategy sets out plans to showcase Wales’ expertise in cyber security, compound-semiconductors and film and television production to demonstrate that we have a modern and vibrant economy. This, in turn, will enhance our wider export and inward investment offer to the rest of the world.
Do you agree that showcasing these areas will demonstrate that Wales has a modern, vibrant economy and skilled workforce?
Question 4: Place – Wales‘ culture and language have contributed to international tourism and increased recognition as a visitor destination. In this strategy, we have identified the need to promote sustainable tourism as a priority. Wales has also demonstrated a commitment to global responsibility through its Wales for Africa programme and our Health Boards.
Do you agree that the ambitions set out in the strategy will promote Wales as a globally responsible nation and showcase our commitment to sustainability?
HOW TO RESPOND
You can respond online at
https://gov.wales/draft-international-strategy-for-wales. Alternatively, you can download and complete the response form at the same web address and email: InternationalStrategy@gov.wales
Or post it to:
International Relations & Trade Department
Food and Drink Wales Industry Board consultation ‘Our ambition to further develop Wales’ food and drink sector’
The Welsh Government and the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board consultation paper sets out ‘The ambition to further develop Wales’ food and drink sector’. The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths AM, and Andy Richardson Chair of Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, jointly launched the consultation. Their aim is to produce a new and ambitious strategic plan to further the development of the sector and the benefits it delivers for Wales.Stakeholders’ opinions will help shape a finished strategic plan for 2020-2026 which we expect to publish in early 2020. The consultation paper will close midnight on the 15 October 2019.
Consultation: UK Department for Transport publishes call for evidence on Carbon Offsetting in Transport
The Department for Transport has published a call for evidence on Carbon Offsetting in Transport.
The focus of the call for evidence is on ticketed transport – ie., buses, coaches, trains, planes and ships – although they are also interested in schemes for private vehicles as well. The three main issues being looked at are:
While the call for evidence discusses the issue in the context of voluntary offsetting programmes, there is the prospect that this could be a precursor to a mandatory scheme. Responses close on 26 September 2019 and can be provided via an online form or by emailing written responses to email@example.com
Whilst the WTA will not in this instance be responding formally, if a WTA member wishes the WTA to provide a supporting statement to a response then please let us know prior to the 16th September 2019.
The UK Government’s response to the six month review of the Package Travel Regulations has been published -
There is recognition that the new Package Travel Regulations are confusing to interpret, burdensome on tourism businesses and, in many cases, provide little benefit to consumers. It also recognises and accepts a the unintended impacts on the domestic tourism industry and the concerns that the regulations may be damaging the UK’s domestic tourism industry.
However, the Government goes on to say that while they will work with stakeholders to provide further clarity on interpretation of the regulations, they cannot actually change the Guidance as this would alter the meaning of PTR 2018. They have also decided to postpone the 12-month review (which should have started at the beginning of this month) until a time when the UK’s position in a post-EU exit landscape is clear. This makes sense with the 31st Oct deadline for leaving the EU fast approaching.
The responsibilities of the DCMS Ministers has been finalised:
Nigel Adams MP - Minister of State for Sport, Media and Creative Industries
Rebecca Pow MP - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism
Matt Warman MP - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital and Broadband
Baroness Barran MBE - Parliamentary Under Secretary for Civil Society and DCMS Lords Minister
On Tuesday 23rd July 2019, WTA Chair, Andrew Campbell, spoke alongside Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Chair of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Paul Harries at a tourism reception held at the Royal Welsh Show to address key industry issues.
Andrew took the opportunity to outline key visitor management issues and challenges facing the sector, emphasising the need for businesses to remain competitive at a time when operating costs are at an all time high. He condemned any notions to introduce a tourism tax which would deepen price competitiveness and would simply add to existing pressures.
At a time of much agricultural reform and uncertainty, it was also appropriate for Andrew to reaffirm the WTA's support for farming communities, upon which tourism depends so much. As custodians of the countryside and as providers of key visitor services and products, co-dependency between our two sectors is high and it is to be hoped that many innovative and mutually beneficial ideas will emerge from "public good" initiatives.
Whilst there may be much political uncertainty at the present time, the recent Tourism Sector Deal announcement together with the launch of the new Welsh Government Tourism Strategy later in the year, give rise for cautious optimism that new opportunities may be secured.
These half-day events will focus on the Future Priorities Action Plan for Tourism in Wales – which will be the successor to the current Tourism Strategy; Partnership for Growth.
The Environmental Audit Select Committee has announced that it is launching an inquiry into Sustainable Tourism and is seeking written evidence by 13th Sept. The Terms of reference for the Inquiry are as follows
Link to the Committee website which has more details. https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news-parliament-2017/sustainable-tourism-inquiry-launch-17-19/
VisitBritain have released a new report that looks at the regional distribution of inbound visitors to the UK in 2018. It usefully highlights the top markets per region along with popular towns and key figures on visits, spend and journey purpose. However, it makes for dissappointing reading from Wales point of view, stating, 'After 5 consecutive years of growth, visits to Wales in 2018 fell 13% on 2017, with visits from Ireland – Wales’ largest inbound market – falling by 27% in 2018 compared to the year before. However, inbound visitor spending to Wales rose 10% in 2018, recovering from a sluggish 2017'. The WTA has consistently queried the ONS figures and the International Passenger Methodology. The full report can be downloaded from here - Get a copy
There’s still time to enter the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards but businesses, organisations and individuals need to get their skates on, as the July 31 deadline is fast approaching. The biennial awards are designed to celebrate and showcase the region’s exceptional tourism industry. There are 16 categories for businesses and individuals and entry forms may be downloaded from the awards website at https://www.midwalestourismawards.co.uk/
Category finalists will be announced on September 9 and the winners will be revealed at a glittering awards ceremony at The Hafren, Newtown on October 17. Compere for the evening will be Welsh tourism personality Jonathan Jones, CBE. The awards are being organised by MWT Cymru with support from Mid Wales Regional Tourism Forum, a public and sector partnership and Visit Wales, the Welsh Government’s tourism arm.
The categories are: Best Hotel, Best B&B, Best Guest Accommodation, Restaurant with Rooms or Inn, Best Self Catering, Best Camping or Touring Park, Best Holiday Park or Holiday Home Park, Best Glamping/ Quirky Accommodation, Best Accommodation for Groups, Best Activity or Experience, Best Visitor Attraction, Best Event, Best Place to Eat or Drink, Best Restaurant, Best Third Sector Award, Tourism Business Innovation Award and Young Tourism Person of the Year.
Members of the public may nominate for the Young Tourism Person of the Year Award, but all other categories must be entered directly by the business or organisation. The Young Tourism Person of the Year category is designed to recognise young entrepreneurial, professional and business talents aged 30 years and under in the tourism sector. Entrants may self-nominate.
Here are a few of the other categories in more detail.
The Best Place to Eat/Drink Award is open to smaller businesses, such as bistros, cafes, tea rooms, small restaurants, pubs, wineries or breweries. If serving food, the business will require a minimum of a four-star hygiene rating to be considered. The award recognises a business that offers a unique and memorable experience to visitors and provides excellent service.
The Best Hotel Award recognise the many top quality hotels in Mid Wales while the Best Visitor Attraction is open to any business which offers a natural or built location that is open to visitors for more than seven months of the year.
The Best Guest Accommodation, Restaurant with Rooms or Inn category is open to guest accommodation with six or more bedrooms and/or provides evening meals. There is no minimum or maximum number of rooms criterion for restaurants with rooms and inns.
The Best Camping or Touring Park category recognises tourism excellence for camping and touring parks, for which Mid Wales is renowned. The award is for businesses that provide for touring caravans, motorhomes and camping.
The Best for Groups (Accommodation) category welcomes entries from any business that offers group accommodation or exclusive hire for groups of 10 or more people. This could include hotels, bunk barns, large catering properties, historic houses, campus accommodation and exclusive hire hotels, to name but a few possible business types.
Award winners and finalists may be selected to represent the region at the Wales National Tourism Awards in March 2020.
Granted an Awards Trust Mark by the Independent Awards Standards Council, the awards are open to all businesses, organisations and individuals who contribute to tourism within Mid Wales. As part of the scoring, judges will be looking for entries that support the region both through their marketing and a range of activities.
Exclusive headline and category sponsorship opportunities are available to businesses wishing to raise their profile and show their support for the tourism sector in Mid Wales.
Already signed up as sponsors are Cambrian Training Company, Grŵp Colegau NPTC Group of Colleges, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, Busnes Cymdeithasol Cymru/ Social Business Wales, Cambrian News, County Times and Express and Gazette, Mid Wales Journal and NFU Mutual.
MWT Cymru is the regional destination marketing and membership organisation for Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd district of Southern Snowdonia. As a not-for-profit social enterprise company, MWT Cymru supports and represents more than 550 tourism businesses and organisations across the region.
A dedicated Tourism Awards Advisory Group, established specifically to assist with the awards, includes representatives from Visit Wales, Ceredigion County Council, Powys County Council and others.
For more information, please contact Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru chief executive, on Tel: 01654 702653 or Duncan Foulkes, publicity adviser, on Tel: 01686 650818.