Travel Trade Wales

Tourism Minister Unveils West Wales' Answer to the London Eye

Tourism Minister Unveils West Wales' Answer to the London Eye

Folly Farm Big Wheel

It may be a fifth of the size of the London Eye but a £500,000 investment in a new Pembrokeshire big wheel ride is expected to be a major draw for visitors at what is fast becoming one of Wales’ most successful tourist attractions.


The attendance at Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo near Tenby has been record breaking so far this year - with almost 8,000 visitors pouring in just one day during Easter.


The new big wheel, which was officially launched by Tourism Minister Edwina Hart, has been introduced as part of a drive to keep the attraction developing and bring fresh incentives for visitors to return.


Standing at a 25m and 130m above sea level, the wheel boasts panoramic views not only of the park itself but right across Pembrokeshire, taking in the Preseli Hills, the bay in Saundersfoot, and on a very clear day the coast of Devon.


With 18 carriages which accommodate six people, the wheel also has a rectangular carriage for wheel chair users.


104-year-old Lillian Lowe, of Tenby and who made national headlines as Facebook's oldest user said she was impressed with the stunning views from the top of the wheel.


"It is wonderful that Folly farm has created this ride so we can appreciate the views of our stunning county," she said.


Mrs Hart who took over the tourism portfolio in May said Folly Farm, with its annual attendance tipping over 420,000 visitors was a great example of how to make tourism in Wales work.


“It is a tribute to the business that they have put encouraging tourist this investment in, helping protect jobs in a very difficult area and encouraging tourists to come back.


“Attractions like this help all aspects of tourism and are part of a key part of ensuring west Wales remains an attractive destination, not just for tourists in Britain but across the world.


“We are not bolshy enough in promoting tourism in Wales. I think we need to be more ambitious of how we can take advantage of the many markets we have, tapping into things like eco-tourism and caravan and camping.


“Folly Farm is a great example of how business can grow through promotion and I think there need to be more of this across the country as a whole.”


Managing director Chris Ebsworh said the attraction was always developing.


"It's important that we don't rest on out laurels and assume customers will keep returning. We have to develop and evolve, recognising our target market and making sure we don't stray too much from that."


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