Merthyr Tydfil tourism industry stakeholders are forming a ‘Destination Partnership’ with the aim of working together to maximise the county borough’s growing visitor potential.
With attractions such as Cyfarthfa Park and BikePark Wales already helping bring in more than £69m a year, the local authority is confident a coordinated approach involving sector businesses, the Council and agencies will further strengthen the offering.
Delegates at a ‘Destination Day’ conference held at the Orbit Business Centre heard about plans to launch the first Destination Management Partnership in December – to create a platform for networking, collaborating and providing opportunities to become involved in exciting projects and joint marketing.
Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill said that in 2016, Merthyr Tydfil benefited from more than 1.26m day visitors, with over 170,000 people staying overnight for an average of two nights per stay, resulting in the tourism economy generating £69m spent locally.
A prime objective of the Destination Management Partnership would be to increase current visitor numbers, producing collaborative packages to encourage visitors to stay longer, he added.
“Expanding on previous successes, the emphasis is for all future projects to be raised and accomplished in partnership so that we can all jointly reap the benefits.”
Another speaker at the conference was Rock UK Summit Centre Director Rachel Allen, who gave an update on its redevelopment into a 100-bed multi-activity residential centre, with a new bike skills course, gym, café and children’s play area.
She said the building work, which began in April, was half-completed and would be opened in phases between February and June 2018. It would be a world-class facility, the £4m funding for which would never have been found without the support of the County Borough Council.
Other talks were given by heritage consultant Ruth Taylor-Davies, who spoke about The Valleys Campaign, and Merthyr Rising Festival CIC founder Lyn Williams on the growth of the popular event.
John Llewellyn, Trago Group Operations Director, gave an update on the building of the 200,000 sq ft retail complex and said the company was looking forward to the opening next year, having recently launched a drive to recruit 350 members of staff across retail, warehousing, security, leisure and admin.
Destination Management Co-ordinator Lyndsey Handley said:
“The day was a great success and a number of key stakeholders have already signed up to coming together to capitalise and strengthen Destination Merthyr Tydfil and the local economy. A collaborative approach is our future in shaping Merthyr Tydfil as a premier first class visitor destination!”