The Japanese Association of Travel Agents (JATA) has named a route in north Wales as one of the top 20 in Europe – one of only two in the UK to be chosen by this influential group.
JATA has named the north Wales route as the ‘Road of castles in a country of Wonderland’. The route is a circular route, beginning and ending at Conwy, taking in the four World Heritage Site Castles and the Snowdonia National Park.
This follows on from their 2015 award given to Conwy as one of the prettiest villages in Europe. This has resulted in year-on-year increases in visitors from JATA agents, with an expected 2,380 visits from April – September 2017.
A second route named in the UK also ends in Cardiff and is based on the Rugby World Cup taking pace in Japan in 2019. The route goes from Rugby to Cardiff, following a countryside route with cultural attractions.
73 applications from 21 countries were considered for the award which were collected by travel agents, tour operators, tourist boards, airlines, and other members of JATA’s Team Europe Promotion Council who are leading this initiative.
The JATA delegation visited Wales in November and visited the attractions along the chosen route through a familiarisation trip organised by Visit Wales. Economy Secretary, Ken Skates met with the group at the Bodnant Food Centre during their five day whistle stop tour of Wales.
The Economy Secretary welcomed the news, and said:
“This award is excellent news, and shows the increased appreciation of what Wales has to offer as a holiday destination among Japanese tour operators. The increased profile for Conwy in Japan following the award by JATA in 2015 was an excellent platform for us to promote Wales in a relatively untapped market and to spread the word on what Wales has to offer. The industry in North Wales has embraced the opportunity to attract more visitors from the market and is looking forward to welcoming more visitors to the area. This award will give us further opportunities and we look forward to working with JATA on the promotion of Wales to Japanese visitors.”
Jim Jones, Managing Director of North Wales Tourism, said:
“We are delighted that JATA continue to recognise the importance of North Wales as a key travel destination for Japanese tourists. We have built up an excellent relationship with the Board of JATA. It's not every day that you have a country wishing to promote another country to their travel market.
“Two years ago we became part of ‘Team Europe' promoting Conwy and North Wales to the Japanese as part of the most beautiful European town and village destinations. Since then we have attended trade shows, translated websites, promotional videos, information and itineraries, appointed a Japanese ambassador and hosted the powerhouse of Japanese tourism on a visit to North Wales last November.
“On the back of all this we have seen an increase of 84% in Japanese visitors coming to North Wales. We will be promoting this new exciting route for North Wales at one of the biggest Tourism expos in the world in September, and for the first time with support from VisitBritain and Visit Wales we will have a fully branded trade stand at the Expo, to promote Wales.”
The locations named in the north Wales Route are as follows:
- Menai Bridge
- Beaumaris Castle
- Caernarfon Castle
- Harlech Castle
- Blaenau Ffestiniog
- Bodnant Welsh Food Centre
- Bodnant Garden
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
- Pistyll Rhaeadr
- Powis Castle