A MARKETING boost would be a lifeline for struggling tourism businesses hoping to benefit from a boom in staycations this summer. Mid Wales receives little tourism attention as government efforts typically focus on promoting Snowdonia, Cardiff and Pembrokeshire.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the next Welsh Government to consider an ‘emergency marketing budget’ for the tourism industry in Powys as COVID-19 restrictions across the UK begin to lift.
Alison Alexander, The Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrat Candidate for the Senedd.
Montgomeryshire Senedd Candidate Alison Alexander said: “As the country begins to unlock this summer, and foreign destinations remain limited due to differing vaccination progress rates, there could be a boom in staycations this year. We must ensure Powys is positioned to take advantage of this. We have some of the most beautiful countryside and villages in all of the UK in Powys and we know that the people who do visit always want to return.”
Small business owners have shared their frustrations about Powys Tourism’s limited budget and narrow focus on historical sites.
Revo Bikes Director and Red Cloud Marketing and Communications Owner Mark Almond said: “Powys Tourism do a good job given their small budget but they could do so much more. We have some of the best cycle routes in the world and very few people know about them. There is a golden opportunity here just waiting to be exploited.”
Hotels, pubs, caravanning, glamping and camping account for a large portion of the Powys economy. These businesses have been hit particularly hard by the lockdown restrictions.
Mike Bottomley, owner of Matilda’s Field Safari Tent Glamping in the Dyfnant Forest, said: “You do feel that this area gets overlooked in terms of tourism advertising, compared to say Snowdonia. Things are getting pretty difficult now, particularly as we were a new business so haven’t been able to access much support. We could really do with a boost to make sure there are plenty of bookings this summer to help make up for the last year.”
Besides an immediate boost in the budget for marketing mid-Wales, Alison stated a number of other policies would be among her priorities including: opposing any attempts by Plaid Cymru or Labour to introduce a tourism tax, improving transport links to the midlands and ensuring access to high-speed internet across the constituency.
Alison also stated that she would push for the continued restoration of the Montgomeryshire Canal, that would be a "huge boost" for the towns of Welshpool and Newtown, alongside the villages in between. Do further the work being done she suggested that she would push the Welsh Government to work with the new UK Development Fund to secure further funding for the project.