Bringing the past to life like never before – while creating and celebrating new Welsh legends is the vision outlined by Economy Secretary, Ken Skates while sharing how Wales’ Year of Legends will be delivered next year.
In outlining his vision to build on the success of the Year of Adventure 2016, the Economy Secretary, said:
“2017 is about bringing our culture and heritage to the centre of our nation brand.
“And it certainly isn’t about looking backwards: the Year of Legends is about bringing the past to life like never before, with cutting-edge innovation. It’s about creating and celebrating new Welsh legends – modern-day personalities, products and events that are made in Wales, or enriched by coming here.
“Our cultural assets will be injected with just as much creativity as we have seen igniting the Adventure sector: with activities that are unmistakably Wales, and internationally outstanding.”
The Year of Adventure has had a big impact in Wales, and has had the full backing of the industry. As the year comes to a close, north Wales was named by the Lonely Planet as one of the top ten places in the wold to visit in 2017 – testimony to the commitment and partnership working between public and private sector to deliver a world class visitor experience.
The Economy Secretary, said:
“2016 wasn’t just about Adventure – it was also the year of the Brexit referendum; changing the context for the Year of Legends completely, making it ever-more important to internationalise the quality of our product offer with world-class innovation; and to sell Wales to the world with renewed energy.”
The Year of Legends will feature an unprecedented calendar of creative activities in Wales’s castles; a thrilling medieval Tournament in Conway; and the unveiling of two major new artworks of international repute. Wales will be promoted as the land of storytelling, working with VisitBritain to mark the release of a new film about King Arthur, and recognising global talent inspired by Wales, from Dahl to Dylan Thomas to Tolkien, with tours and trails.
A rich and inspiring programme of events, exhibitions and collections delivered by major cultural partners including Amgueddfa Cymru and the National Library of Wales will feature legendary works and themes.
In June, Wales will welcome the UEFA Champions League Final to Cardiff – the biggest sporting occasion in the world next year. To maximise this opportunity there will be multi-lingual digital campaigns; experiential installations; and global media coverage, as the scene is set for the other legendary sporting events such as cricketing’s Champions Trophy and golf’s Seniors Open.
The Cabinet Secretary concluded:
“This major, multi-channel, multi-market campaign has already started at last week’s World Travel Market, where it was clear that Wales’s distinct and diverse cultural offer has real potential – combined with Adventure – to take our brand and performance to a new level. Next year, the additional budget of £5m secured for Visit Wales means that funding will be available for international-quality and brand-defining experiences and events.
“There is also a long-term vision to take pride; and to strengthen and enhance the very fabric of the culture and communities we serve to promote in the first place; providing a firm basis for future legends to emerge.”
This month, Visit Wales has been taking industry roadshows to locations across Wales to share information with the tourism industry on how they can get involved with the Year of Legends in 2017. It’s a year for the whole industry and an opportunity to increase business.
Visit Wales has already approved £1.28mn for 35 projects to help support private and public sector stakeholders develop projects aligned to the Year of Legends. A key aim of the support is to support greater partnership working and collaboration at the destination level, with future funds focusing on higher quality innovative projects that continue to support themed Years activity. One example is the glamping pop-up hotel project, run by Best in Wales in partnership with Cambria Tours and George & Tomos Architects.
Best of Wales Director, Llion Pughe, said:
“The Year of Legends gives us a fantastic opportunity to tell Wales’ story from our perspective so that all our visitors hear the real story of Wales. This will make Wales come alive and will spark an interest in visiting Wales. We’re very excited about introducing our pop up glamping hotel – called Epic Retreats – which will visit three amazing locations around Wales in 2017.
“The ‘Epic Retreats' pop up hotel will be the result of a tender competition to design a top end, Welsh themed glamping unit. The standard of the entries have been exceptionally high and we very much look forward to announcing the designs that will be commissioned next week. These units will be totally unique and mobile and will come together to create a Welsh glamping hotel. Visitors will have a chance to stay and enjoy special and unforgettable experiences during this period. A local theme for all locations will be promoted, with activities including meals of local produce prepared by the best chefs of the area, entertainment by Welsh artists, taste of Mythology of the area and visits to some of the special attractions and landmarks will be included in the three night stay.”