Renewed calls have been made for the removal of Visit Wales from Welsh Government control and creating an industry-led approach to marketing Wales. This follows the finding by Janet Finch-Saunders, Assembly Member for Aberconwy, that the number of international trips to Wales during the first quarter of 2019 fell by 4% to 147,000, and visitor spending down by 23% on same time last year.
Commenting on the reduction in the number of international visitors, Janet said:
“There are potentially a number of reasons why there was a reduction in international visitors, but at a time when the exchange rates have been relatively favourable to foreign tourists, and hotels and attractions across Aberconwy are winning top awards, it is worrying that Wales has seen a fall in visitors.
“Greater reason to be concerned is that London and the rest of England actually saw an increase. For example, London saw 4,240,000 international trips, 5% more than the year before.
“Whilst I appreciate that London is a top global destination, North Wales is too.
“It must therefore be asked why we are not seeing a greater number of people choosing to visit Wales during their trips to the United Kingdom.
“Personally, I think that a good starting point would be to remove Visit Wales from Welsh Government control and let the industry lead on promoting our country as a destination.
“As I have said before, the best way to strengthen our tourist sector is by listening to and giving levers of control to the industry rather than leaving them with the Welsh Government”.