Monmouthshire County Council has warmly acknowledged the importance of its local tourism industry. Wales Tourism Week takes place from May 15th to 21st and the council has taken the opportunity to say a big thank you to all involved within Monmouthshire’s visitor economy for their dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism and the high quality welcome they offer.
Tourism makes a significant and growing contribution to Monmouthshire’s economy. The industry was worth £187m* to the county in 2015 with 10% real growth in terms of economic impact, 8.7% growth in visitor numbers and 1.5% growth in FTE jobs since 2012.
Tourism growth isn’t something that happens by chance though. It’s important to have a strategic plan to guide the county’s destination management and marketing to address identified priorities as well as delivering year round sustainable tourism growth which maximises the economic, social and environmental benefits of tourism across all parts of Monmouthshire.
Monmouthshire’s last Destination Management Plan covered the period 2012 to 2015. This plan has since been reviewed and a revised draft has been developed in consultation with stakeholders. Final consultation is now underway and will close at 5pm on Wednesday 31st May. The draft Destination Management Plan 2017-2020 and consultation response survey can be accessed by logging onto: www.visitmonmouthshire.com/destination-intelligence
The plan establishes a clear framework for a public, private and voluntary sector partnership working to ensure a coordinated approach and best use of available resources.
As part of the council’s commitment to continual improvement, it launched the fully responsive www.visitmonmouthshire.com website before Easter. The results of the 2016 Monmouthshire tourism business survey, undertaken to inform the revised plan, clearly show that the website is an important element of the marketing mix. Respondents to the survey also revealed that visitmonmouthshire.com and visitwales.com were the second and third most important online sources of business after their own websites. The product database which feeds the Visit Monmouthshire website also provides material for the visitor information kiosks at key sites around Monmouthshire as well as the Visit Wales website.
Local tourism received a boost last week when the council’s tourism team received notification of approval of Rural Development Programme funding. This two year EU-funded project covers Monmouthshire and the rural wards of Newport and includes a study on best practice visitor information provision, a local visitor information point scheme and the development of Abergavenny and Chepstow tourist information centres as hubs for coach tourism. The project aims to identify a sustainable future for the tourist information service and expand the benefits of coach tourism through development of closer working relationships with coach operators and local businesses.
Monmouthshire’s Chief Executive Paul Matthews said: “Monmouthshire has so much to offer visitors, whether they come for the day or longer. The county is the food capital of Wales, boasts incredible scenery, offers wonderful opportunities for cycling and walking, is home to castles, abbeys, historic market towns and industrial archaeology, is easy to get to and is the venue for many enticing events and attractions. The Visit Monmouthshire website identifies all that’s best about the county.”