'Tourism Matters: A Symposium to find solutions to the Challenges facing our Industry' (25th January 2024)
The WTA recently hosted a Tourism Symposium' on the 25th January 2024 at the Hope Church Conference Centre in Newtown, Powys.
This was an important collaborative event, with aim being to commence a process which will move toward finding ‘sustainable structures and sustainable practices’.
Suzy Davies, WTA Chair guided the day. The speakers included Jason Thomas, Director Culture Sport & Tourism, Welsh Government; Ian Edwards, Wales Representative of the British Tourism Association (Visit Britain); Michael Booth, Attractions Manager, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Elan Valley - 'The Mid Wales Growth Deal' and Marc Crothall MBE, Director, Scottish Tourism Alliance (who joined us via live link form Scotland).
We also had a panel session which was chaired by Prof Andrew Campbell, Chair of the Welsh Government Ministerial Advisory Board for the Economy and former Chair WTA. The panel took questions and included Val Hawkins MBE - CEO Mid Wales Tourism; Sheena Carlisle, Research Associate, Cardiff University; Dave Chapman, Executive Director, UK Hospitality Cymru and James Parkin, Director Nature & Tourism, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
The core purpose was to better understand the tourism industry's existing structures on the ground, its strengths and weaknesses, and to consider how engagement, partnership-working and funding streams might operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. We considered the host communities, the environment and the wider economy, but the context was and is firmly fixed on the future of tourism. As a note of clarification, this was not a forum for taking issue with specific policies or decision makers, it was about putting our shared expertise to better use.
The event was held in acknowledgement that the fragmented nature of the industry and the need to work together more effectively together is imperative for its success. The outcome from the day was to identify and agree a series of principles and recommendations to guide future collaboration in removing obstacles and disadvantages.
Thank you to our speakers and delegates for what was a lively and interesting day. We are also grateful to our WTA member, British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) for its generous financial support in making the symposium possible.
A full report will follow in due course.