A MAJOR international campaign has been launched to attract high-spending overseas visitors to North Wales after the easing of Covid restrictions.
One of the aims of the multi-lingual drive by North Wales Tourism is to ensure that travellers from abroad can enjoy a warm Welsh welcome and information in their own languages.
Among the countries being targeted are European nations like Germany, Spain and France along with visitors from Japan, China and India.
As part of the campaign North Wales Tourism is going to be building on existing ties with Japan that were forged through the twinning of Conwy and Himeji castles in 2019.
Meanwhile, India is seen as an emerging market with huge potential to attract wealthy travellers.
One of the centrepieces of the push will be high-end tour itineraries to see some of the region’s most spectacular highlights.
The stops will include the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the Norman castles in Conwy and Caernarfon and the newly-crowned Slate Landscapes of North West Wales.
The campaign is being funded by the Welsh Government’s tourism arm, Visit Wales.
The Welsh Government’s Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething MS, said: “It’s been an extremely challenging time for the visitor economy and especially so for businesses who rely on overseas visitors.
“I’m pleased that we have been able to provide support for these businesses through the Wales International Inbound Tourism Fund and that we can now look forward with hope for recovery in our key overseas markets.
“This funding will help them to build on their existing itineraries to develop and promote new and updated programmes and packages for 2022 and beyond.”
Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism which has around 2,000 members operating in tourism and hospitality, said: “We are hugely grateful to Visit Wales for their support in providing the funding for this hugely exciting campaign.
“The purpose of the funding is to prepare us for what we hope will be a huge influx of inbound visitors from overseas.
“We think the potential is massive once the international market reopens, especially the Asian market.
“We want to make sure we have all our ducks in a row so that those visitors have access to information in their chosen language.
“We have a lot of experience in this area and we have done a lot of exciting things that have resulted in a big growth in the international market and we are definitely on the world map when it comes to tourism.
“One of things we are doing is creating very high-end itineraries, after arriving via either Manchester or Liverpool airports.
“The first ports of call would be somewhere like Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden before going on to Mostyn Hall.
“They’ll then visit nearby Llandudno and the following day they will head for Conwy Castle, Bodnant Gardens and go down the Conwy Valley to Llechwedd.
“The visit to the Slate Landscape of North West Wales will be particularly timely after the area was granted World Heritage Status.
“Then they’ll catch the Ffestiniog Highland Railway from Porthmadog to Caernarfon and another castle with World Heritage Status before travelling to Anglesey and then one of the region’s distilleries en route back to the airport.
“We’re also going to do more work with Avanti Rail to promote walking routes and we have invested in our website so we have route planners and itinerary maps.
“We want to enhance the website and make it multi-lingual and the languages we are specifically promoting are in line with the Visit Wales targets, so that’s German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese and Hindi.
“The Indian market is a potentially huge and growing market that we want to tap into.
“We have a track record that’s second to none when it comes to working with Japan, culminating with the 2019 twinning of Conwy with Himeji.
“We’re looking to continue that relationship and increase the number of Japanese visitors.
“All of this means that we have to make sure we have plenty of information so our brochures and our videos will be translated into those languages and we’ll be doing a lot of marketing on social media in those countries as well.
“We want to increase the spread of visitors from those countries throughout the year whilst increasing their average spend.
“It’s well documented that international visitors spend more money and stay longer.
“Our Welsh heritage, history, language and culture are front and centre in the campaign and we’ll also be focusing on our food and drink.
“We want to promote tourism in a sustainable way by increasing the spend which will create jobs and create prosperity.
“There can’t be many places in the world with so many World Heritage sites in such a small geographic area – and so much more besides, including the breath-taking beauty of our natural assets.
“On top of everything else we have a plethora of world class adrenaline fuelled activities, including zip lining and inland surfing. We’ve got the lot in abundance.
“After all the trauma we’ve all been through over the past couple of years, this is a new beginning that heralds a brighter future for North Wales as a dynamic region.
“North Wales is heaven on earth and if we all work together, we will be world leaders in tourism.”