The Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones has announced nearly £16m to create four tourism centres to provide world class facilities
for outdoor and adventure activities across Wales.
The money, from the European Regional Development Fund, local
authorities and other sources, will be used to develop centres of excellence with the highest standard of facilities that will act as a hub for encouraging more sustainable tourism centred on Wales’ natural environment.
Speaking at the launch of the project at Coed Llandegla, part of the North Wales Cycling centre, Mr Jones said: “These centres will provide world class facilities in a wide range of outdoor tourism activities and will showcase
what Wales has to offer to visitors as a sustainable tourism destination.
“For example, here in Coed Llandegla and across north Wales, cyclists will
be able to enjoy this outstanding natural environment together with the
latest high quality facilities. “In Snowdonia visitors will be able to
experience top-class mountain biking, angling, walking, mountaineering,
caving and water sports in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
And in south Wales we will create an exciting and accessible off-road
cycle trail network “While those looking for a more gentle experience
can enjoy the beautiful and historic gardens of south west Wales.
“These projects will be developed with the highest regard for the natural environment on which they rely and on strong sustainable principles.
I hope these centres will attract more visitors to every corner of Wales and this demonstrates how serious the Assembly Government is about
supporting this vital sector of the Welsh economy.”
Environment Minister, Jane Davidson added: “I am delighted this initiative will allow more people to enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of Wales’ countryside in a sustainable way that minimises environmental damage.”
The announcement comes as a new report demonstrated the importance
of tourism to the Welsh economy. The Tourism Satellite Account for Wales, compiled by Cardiff Business School for Visit Wales, found that tourists
spent an estimated £4.2bn in Wales in 2007, and directly supporting
78,000 full time equivalent jobs. Report author, Dr Calvin Jones, said that compared with figures for 2000 it shows tourism is of greater importance
to the Welsh Economy than previously thought.
Dr Jones added: “The report also found that around half (50.7%) of tourist spending is by those on tourism day trips. A further third (32.5%) comprises spending by UK-resident holidaymakers. International visitors comprise 8%
of spending and business tourists around 6%. Whilst just over 40% of
visitors’ spending was on accommodation and food, some 36% was on
goods and services outside of identified tourist industries, demonstrating
the wide range of services demanded by visitors, and hence the breadth of economic impact.”
The four projects are:
North Wales Cycling Activity Tourism Centre of Excellence
Total Investment £2,219,161
Local Authority: £1,274,210
This project will establish North Wales as a centre of excellence for cycling by building on existing developments in the area, and aims to increase the duration and numbers of visits for cycling.
There are nine main components to the project:
Upgrade the existing facility at Coed Llandegla.
Extend further the use of visitor facilities at Llyn Brenig.
Develop a centre to link together all the activity hubs at Betws y Coed.
Develop a natural trail to link Llangollen, Llandegla, Corwen and the Dee
Develop an iconic three to four day natural trail ride linking together the 3 centres.
Enhance existing and create 2 new regional cycling mass participation
events of national significance to extend tourism season.
Develop an off road and activity cycling activity business centre at
Develop a distinct regional marketing brand for the area.
Provide grant assistance to local tourism business to improvement their capacity and capability to attract cyclists.
Councillor Sharon Frobisher, Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "The area is already well known for its beautiful scenery
and the rugged landscape and the abundance of forestry and rural areas
have already helped the region earn a world class reputation for cycling facilities and visitor attractions. “This funding will allow us to proceed with these exciting initiatives to place the region firmly amongst the best in the country, as well as boosting the local economy and meet the demand from enthusiasts in the cycling world."
The Eryri Centre of Excellence
Total Investment £4,014,000
Gwynedd LA: £1,953,000
The vision for the Eryri Centre of Excellence is to offer a unique tourist
product for outdoor pursuits that will capitalise upon the area's outstanding natural beauty.
The main components to the project include:
Develop a new Activity Centre and additional cross country mountain biking trails at the Coed y Brenin site near Dolgellau.
Develop a new downhill cycling facility around the old Llechwedd quarry workings in Blaenau Ffestiniog; as well as new cycling loops around
New facilities at Trawsfynynydd lake for various users of the lake, including visiting and competition anglers.
Additional facilities at the Urdd’s Glan Llyn site near Bala, including a
cycle link to village of Llanuwchllyn.
Measures to ensure that the area’s unique heritage and culture forms an integral part of the Centre of Excellence.
A programme to target mass participation events and competitions.
It will be based in four sites across Snowdonia (Coed y Brenin near
Dolgellau, Antur ‘Stiniog in Blaenau Ffestiniog, the Urdd’s Glan Llyn site near Bala and Trawsfynydd Lake) to provide top class facilities for cross country and downhill mountain biking, angling, walking, mountaineering, and water sports.
The centre will offer high quality year round experiences and opportunities
for visitors and residents and support the development of the Outdoor
Sector in Snowdonia. The centre will also look to host mass participation events.
Councillor Dyfed Edwards, Leader of Gwynedd Council, said: “Confirmation
that our bid has been approved by the Welsh Assembly Government is
great news for Meirionnydd and a big boost for our activity tourism
“Whilst Meirionnydd already boasts a thriving tourism sector, this
investment will enable us to develop the scope and value of this market
and present the area as a world class outdoor activities destination.
“The project will be built on our vision to increase the involvement of the
local community in this sector and to bring the industry closer to the heart
of the community itself. “As a Council we are looking forward to forging an even stronger working relationship with our partners – which include Antur Stiniog, the Urdd, Forestry Commission, Prysor Angling, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Mid Wales Tourism and Snowdonia National
Park - on this exciting project.”
Off-Road Cycling Centre of Excellence for South Wales,
Total Investment £5,020,000
Match Funding from other sources: £3,020,000
This project aims to provide the most exciting and accessible off-road cycle trail network in the UK.
The project will create:
The best all-round, purpose built trail centre in the UK at Afan Forest Park. Neath Port Talbot and refresh and extend the product offering at the
gateway to the Valleys site at Cwmcarn, Caerphilly.
A world-leading commercial bike park in the Heads of the Valley area at
Gethin Woods, Merthyr Tydfil.
A world class mountain bike events centre in Margam Park, Neath Port Talbot.
A marketing strategy and programme of events to promote off-road cycling.
‘One Historic Garden’ Centre of Excellence, South West Wales
Total Investment £4,563,338
Local Authority: £2,663,338
This project is to improve existing gardens attractions in South West Wales, and create a trail to link them together.
Building on the success of existing centres of Bryngarw Country Park to the east of the area, through to Margam Country Park, Cwmdonkin Park, Clyne Country Park, Penllergare Valley Woods, Aberglasney, Scolton Manor and
Colby Woodland Garden in the west, these sites will be enhanced by capital improvements into Gardens of Excellence.
The ‘One Historic Garden’ theme would incorporate the social history of
the estates and the design and development of the gardens over time, packaging the unique heritage of each site into one ‘niche’ product - the
first of its kind in Wales and on a par with products such as Kent,
‘The Garden of England’.
Investment will include improvements to visitor centres, access, information, footpaths, sustainable management and marketing.
Councillor Rob Lewis Pembrokeshire Council Cabinet Spokesperson for
Cultural Services, Sports, Leisure and Tourism, said: “We are delighted
with the announcement that the ‘One Historic Garden’ scheme has been awarded Centre of Excellence status by Visit Wales. Gardens Tourism
has grown considerably in recent years and this opportunity will allow us to make significant enhancements to historic garden sites across South West Wales by improving visitor facilities and expanding the historic interpretation
of these important gardens. We anticipate this initiative will see
£2.2 million additional visitors and 60 direct and indirect jobs created by
For more information please contact Matthew Pritchard on 029 2089 8980