On the 26th February, the Wales Official Tourist Guides Association (WOTGA) celebrated with 21 students receiving their ‘All Wales Blue Badge', the highest accolade for guiding in the country.
Ken Skates, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Welsh Government, presented their awards at a ceremony at Gregynog Hall, Newtown. He stated: "I was delighted to have the opportunity to present the Blue Guide Badges in recognition of all the hard work and commitment shown by the guides. The Welsh Government is committed to training people so that they can thrive within the tourism sector. If the visitor economy is to grow, investment in the people who work within the sector is vital. I wish all the students well in telling Wales' story to our many visitors."
The event also saw the ‘Travel Trade' launch of www.WalesBestGuides.com, that offers a Wales-wide resource of guided our product, which tour operators, coach operators and group travel organisers are encouraged to utilise.
"WalesBestGuides.com allows travel, group and coach companies to locate the best guides, book guides instantly online and be inspired by great tours in Wales. We believe Wales is the best destination in the UK and we can help you to have the best of time in Wales," says Stella Mair Thomas, Chair of WOTGA.
Tourism makes a vital contribution to the economic and social well-being of Wales, supporting 80,000 jobs, which is 8.7% of the workforce of Wales. WalesBestGuides.com has been jointly funded by WOTGA and VisitWales, through its Digital Tourism Business Framework. The aim is to make guided tour products more visible and easily purchasable by using digital technology.
"In WalesBestGuides.com, we have created an outstanding and useful website showcasing great Welsh guided tour products. Our Guides tell the stories of Wales and create the best visitor experiences in Wales. This leads to improved customer satisfaction, customer retention and improved profits. It makes great business sense for tour operators and coach operators to use our site for generating new tour products, and to then deliver these in partnership with us," says Stella.