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Mid Wales Tourism Organisation Attracts More Members

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MWT Cymru, an independent, not for profit company representing tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd, is attracting more members and visitors.

The company’s annual meeting, held at Portmeirion, heard that 56 new members had joined during 2019, boosting membership to 614

More visitors are also being attracted to the company’s websites, which welcomed 1.73 million unique users, 38% up on last year and 14.4 million page views, up 54%.  There were 99,000 direct referrals to businesses from the www.visitmidwales.co.uk website.

The positive membership and website figures provided the platform for a very busy and successful year for the MWT Cymru team, based in Machynlleth.

“MWT Cymru is a tourism organisation which has highly experienced staff and directors and 600-plus member businesses,” said chief executive Val Hawkins. “We pool our knowledge and expertise, working collaboratively with partner organisations and local tourism groups, to grow and develop a resilient tourism sector and ensure we are able to weather any storms which may be headed our way.”

Successful marketing projects run during the year included #RealMidWales, which is grant funded by Visit Wales and aims to put Mid Wales on the map as a “must visit” destination.

A live streaming project, organised at four locations in partnership with Visit Wales, National Trust Cymru, Hafren Dyfrdwy, RSPB Cymru and National Resources Wales, reached 589,000 people in the target audience – people aged 27-45 years. This campaign will be further developed in 2020, said Mrs Hawkins.

She also revealed that a ‘This is Mid Wales’ integrated marketing campaign, funded by Visit Wales, started in May to promote the region and the #realmidwales messages. The campaign will include targeted advertising on Sky TV, social media, user generated content, a mixed media destination guide and workshops.

A ‘Real Ceredigion Experiences’ pilot project, aimed at the county’s attractions and activities sector, saw 12 businesses attend workshops and receive consultancy support to develop their digital selling techniques.

One of the 2020 marketing campaigns will be targeted at the “conscious traveller” by promoting Mid Wales as a staycation destination, particularly outside the peak tourism season.

Chairman Rowland Rees-Evans said:

Working in partnership with other organisations is in our DNA and I am delighted that MWT Cymru continues to work closely with the Visit Wales national tourism team.

“We will continue to champion the need for increased funding for the tourism industry in Wales and to encourage our local authorities to work closely with MWT Cymru in order to best maximise return on investment on their own limited budgets.”

He urged the Welsh Government to invest more money on marketing tourism in Wales, comparing the investment of £40 million in Ireland and £45 million in Scotland to the £20 million in Wales. The return on investment was €6 billion in Ireland, £9 billion in Scotland and £5 billion in Wales.

He had recently attended a Hoseasons conference where it was reported that the company was investing £40 million to enhance its IT system because ‘staycationing’ was forecast to continue growing. He also referred to the growth of “gramping” where grandparents take their grandchildren on holiday.

Both he and Helen Jones, Visit Wales’s regional engagement manager for Mid Wales, congratulated the MWT Cymru’s team for organising “fantastic” Mid Wales Tourism Awards in October, which showcased what the region had to offer.

Rob Bullen, from the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, welcomed the focus on the “conscious traveller”, while other members expressed concern about the unreliability of the Transport for Wales train services to the region and the need for “joined up thinking” on the location of charging points for electric cars across Wales.

Members also spoke about the demand for accommodation for short breaks for groups, the attraction of visitors in the shoulder season and the importance of tourists to support golf clubs.

Meurig Jones from Portmeirion and Paul Fowles from Aberdovey Cottages, Aberdovey, were appointed Gwynedd trade directors of MWT Cymru for the next three years.

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Duncan Foulkes Public Relations Limited is a well established communications consultancy based in beautiful Mid Wales.

Incorporating public and media relations, the consultancy provides a range of services to businesses and organisations throughout Wales and the Marches.

A former newspaper journalist for 24 years, Duncan moved into PR in 1999 after editing the County Times & Express & Gazette newspapers – the main weekly titles in Mid Wales – for five years.

His main reason for leaving the newspaper industry was a desire for a new career challenge. His successful PR business predominantly focuses on companies based in Wales and Shropshire.

His motto is to keep things as simple as possible to avoid over-complicating what is a straightforward goal – to achieve media coverage for a client.

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He has extensive PR experience of the food and drink, education and training, catering and hospitality, insurance and financial services, manufacturing, tourism, farming, property, fine art, lubricants and telematics sectors.

His contacts extend from local newspapers in Wales to the national print and broadcast media, trade publications and digital media.

Duncan Foulkes PR uses only the most creative photographers, ensuring that photography to support his work is of the highest quality.

He is passionate about issues relating to the countryside and enjoys fly fishing, watching sport and spending time with his family in his spare time.

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