‘WALES, BY TRAILS’ picks up from the success of Visit Wales’ five themed years to date – Adventure, Legends, Sea, Discovery, Outdoors. The themed years support the strategic aim of spread, spend and seasonality by presenting Wales as a welcoming, inclusive destination open all year round.
Trails as a theme is experience-led and simple enough to cater for a wide range of interest within the UK and internationally. It’s also flexible enough for partners, destinations, and tourism businesses large or small to get on board and support.
In a post-pandemic world, research shows people are seeking curated experiences that reconnect them, be that to heritage, culture, nature, community.
They want inspiration, recommendations and interlinked, tailored selections — cherry-picked trips rather than infinite choices. From Monet (Amgueddfa Cymru) to Mynydd (mountain), from coast to castles, there are trails for all businesses and visitors to associate with and enjoy.
As well as Wales’ famous, iconic trails such as the Wales Coast Path, the theme encourages visitors to curate their own trips, which could include Wales’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Wales’ newest site – the slate landscape in north west Wales; mountain bike centres; dark sky reserves; foodie itineraries; events; castles and much more.
Launching the Year of Trails 2023, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:
“This year is all about finding forgotten treasures, embracing journeys of the senses and making memories along pathways around attractions, activities, landscapes and coastlines.
“We’re starting 2023 with a new campaign to make sure Wales is visible, and to support the sector in what continues to be a challenging time for the industry.
“2023 is a call for us to celebrate Wales’ trails, from the well-trodden to the brand new, and to open our country for all to enjoy. We look forward to encouraging visitors to different corners of the country throughout the year ahead.”
The Llwybrau campaign will be live from the January 9, onwards on TV across the UK and in-Wales, supported by an integrated digital campaign on all major platforms as well as Out of Home advertising at key London underground stations and the iconic Waterloo Motion screen.
Trails to try out in 2023:
Loving Welsh Food, Cardiff
Sian Roberts is the owner of Loving Welsh Food, a business that promotes Welsh cuisine through food tours, cooking workshops and food presentations. Her culinary trails around Cardiff and other parts of Wales showcase the independent food and drink venues to tourists and locals, creating a strong sense of place.
Sian Roberts said:
“Our tour offering has increased over time, and we pride ourselves on how we’ve always worked with only local, independent businesses. We now offer a variety of walking tours as well as tours by car, minibus and coach.”
Natural Resources Wales
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) manages over 550 km of waymarked walking trails, over 600 km of waymarked mountain bike and cycling trails, almost 100 km of waymarked running trails and around 30 km of waymarked horse-riding trails. With so much variety on offer, visitors to its sites are sure to find a way to enjoy the very best Wales has to offer on their doorsteps.
Clare Pillman, NRW’s Chief Executive said:
“There is a trail for each of us. Long or short; mountain, forest or coast; walking, riding, running or cycling – NRW managed trails have it all!
“And for 2023 there is an open invitation for bikers, hikers and riders; and for ramblers, explorers, and commuters to discover everything our nation has to offer.
“These trails are a place for reflection, relaxation and recreation, connecting us to each other as well as to the stories and histories of Wales. But they also deliver a host of benefits – for us, our children, our bodies and our souls.
“I am looking forward to this celebration of Wales’ special trails – and to discovering some new places to visit throughout the year.”
Dark Skies – Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains Astro Trail is a self-guided trail that connects some of the best Dark Sky locations in the Cambrian Mountains (and, possibly, the world).
It is an accessible zigzagging route that runs for approximately 50 miles from south to north, with fantastic opportunities to spot the Milky Way, meteor showers and the International Space Station at night, amongst other astronomical beauties.
People tend to do the trail in stages, stopping in one location for a night or two before moving on to the next.
It’s a great example of a trail that many businesses could operate around: accommodation providers, hospitality businesses, outdoors / stargazing gear providers, tour guides, transportation companies… the list goes on!
Find out more: www.thecambrianmountains.co.uk/discover-dark-skies Dafydd Wyn Morgan, from the Cambrian Mountains Initiative, said:
“The Cambrian Mountains Astro Trail has encouraged many communities including tourism and hospitality businesses to embrace astro-tourism and protect the night sky.
“We’ve seen accommodation providers holding regular stargazing events for guests, food and drink producers creating astro-themed produce (such as Dà Mhìle distillery’s Dark Skies Rum) and other businesses harnessing dark sky opportunities including night landscape photography.”