Tourism was worth just over £110m to Neath Port Talbot last year, up more than 7 per cent, according to the latest figures, demonstrating that tourism makes a significant contribution to the local economy.
About 2 million people visited in 2015, up 7.6 per cent, with the numbers for day visits and stays also rising by 10.4 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively.
An independent research model, called STEAM, which is used by all councils in Wales also showed that the number of jobs in the tourism industry rose by 8.4 per cent to 1,583 (full time equivalent).
Neath Port Talbot Council is committed to increasing the impact of tourism on the local area and is continually investing in the development of tourism facilities and projects to increase the number of visitors to the area.
To capitalise on the increasing tourist trade and further establish Neath Port Talbot as a tourist destination, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Regeneration and Economic Development Team has secured funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government, to drive forward and deliver a three year Tourism Business Development Project in the rural areas across Neath Port Talbot.
The Tourism Business Development Project in Neath Port Talbot project will assist tourism operators to take advantage of this growth and in turn raise the profile of Neath Port Talbot as visitor destination.
The Business Development Officer will work with tourism operators to further develop Neath Port Talbot as an alternative and convenient base for a visit to South West Wales by:
- Mapping tourism businesses in rural areas and undertaking a business development needs analysis to understand the aspirations and needs of the tourism sector
- Helping the tourist sector in Neath Port Talbot understand and target their visitors better to increase revenue
- Raising awareness within the tourism sector on what Neath Port Talbot offers visitors
- Establishing networks made up of tourism operators in the rural wards of Neath Port Talbot
- Creating a pilot online visitor information network
Neath Port Talbot has seen significant investment over the last ten years which has created a world class mountain biking destination at Afan Forest Park, which has soared in popularity in recent years. The county also boasts numerous breath-taking Waterfalls in the Vale of Neath, which is known locally as ‘waterfall country’.
Other attractions include the award winning Margam Country Park which includes a deer reserve, a gothic-style Victorian castle and orangery and on-site Go Ape treetop Adventure Park. The on-going regeneration of Aberavon Seafront also attracts hoards of visitors with its newly developed promenade, adventure golf course, and a number of cafes and restaurants which offer views of Aberavon beach and Swansea Bay.
Within the rural wards of Neath Port Talbot, in particular the valleys areas, there is a concentration of excellent quality accommodation, activity providers and natural and industrial heritage attractions offering significant opportunities to widen the appeal of the area to visitors.
Due to its convenient location along the M4 corridor and excellent accessibility by road and rail, Neath Port Talbot is ideally situated to act as a base for visitors to Brecon Beacons National Park, Swansea Bay, Gower and Carmarthenshire.
If you would like more information about the Tourism Business Development project please contact the Business Development Officer Karleigh Davies on (01639) 686417 or e-mail [email protected].