Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas has announced that £2.2 million is being offered to 23 projects which will improve the experience visitors have in Wales.
The funding has been made available through the Tourism Amenity Investment Support scheme (TAIS), aimed at public, third sector and not for profit organisations for investment targeting small scale infrastructure (visitor amenity) projects in the tourism sector in Wales. This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
The funding has been allocated to infrastructure projects across Wales which will see improvements to visitor amenities as well as products which help develop high quality destinations.
Deputy Minister, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:
“This scheme is an excellent way for us to assist the tourism sector to make the improvements to local facilities and amenities, and I’ve seen the improvements made in many areas with the help of this funding over the past year. Facilities such as footpaths, toilets, signage, car parking are often only noticed when the provision is lacking or not up to scratch – which shows that they are an important part of the experience that people have of Wales. This is also an investment by the public sector for in amenities those who live in the area and will benefit locals and visitors alike. These projects also make it easier for local residents and visitors to become more active in Wales’ natural environment.”
The funding has provided an opportunity for local partners to identify a cluster of products which can make a difference in their area. Visitors expect the best quality in all aspects of their visit from the accommodation through to information provision, toilets and parking.
The projects include Improvements to cycle paths; Upgrades to access & facilities at blue flag beaches; Visitor parking; Signage and public conveniences and reflect local and regional destination activity as well as national priorities.
Specific examples include:
- Antur Stiniog Cyf, Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog New bike trail network with the addition of three new trails to the existing trail network at the Llechwedd site and develop and restructure one of the original trails to appeal to a wider market. There will be a new blue grade trail (1.4km long) to appeal families and beginners; a new red trail (1km long) suitable for intermediates, a new black section (0.7km) to link to the existing trail network.
- Dwr Cymru Cyf – Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre, Cerrigydrudion. The work will include the installation of cameras and supporting technology to provide access to high quality images of breeding ospreys. Access improvements surfacing 296m of existing forestry track at Llyn Brenig and Signage improvements including new directional exit route signage.
- Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Pembrokeshire & Powys County Councils This joint project will see the installation of ‘Smart’ CGI display screens on Traws Cymru T2 & T5 CGI Display Screens showing public information in seven strategic locations along the West Wales Coastal Corridor and at bus stops serviced by the Traws Cymru T2 & T5 bus routes, between Fishguard & Porthmadog.
- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority – pilot a roll-out of drinking water fountains across seven key Pembrokeshire tourist destinations.
- Swansea Council To make the Blue Flag Caswell Bay, Gower an accessible destination for visitors with profound learning or physical disabilities. New facilities will include a modular Changing Places unit, complete with hoist, shower and changing bed, as well as specialist beach equipment, such as floating beach wheelchairs to allow easy access to the beach and water. A storage unit will also be purchased to store the new equipment safely.
All organisations have received a letter offering the funding through TAIS, these offers will be formally accepted over the next few weeks and a project plan put in place with the relevant managing authority.