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Visit Wales has taken over the functions of the former Wales Tourist Board, an Assembly Sponsored Public Body. The role of Visit Wales is to support the Welsh tourism industry, improve tourism in Wales and provide a strategic framework within which private enterprise can achieve sustainable growth and success, so improving the social and economic well being of Wales. The mission of Visit Wales is to "maximise tourism's contribution to the economic, social and cultural prosperity of Wales".
The baseline budget at the Wales Tourist Board for 2005/2006 was £22.6 million.
Tourists spend over £8 million a day on trips in Wales, amounting to around £3 billion a year. In direct terms, tourism contributes 3.7% of whole-economy value added in Wales. It is important to note that this figure does not include indirect value added that occurs. Approximately 100,000 people in Wales are employed in tourism, representing about 9% of the workforce.
Over one million trips are taken to Wales annually by overseas tourists. The general United Kingdom accounts for 93% of tourism trips to Wales. Seventy percent of tourists to Wales come from other parts of the United Kingdom for a holiday, 20% to visit friends or relatives and 7% for a business trip. Fifty percent of trips by UK tourists to Wales go to the countryside or small towns/villages. The most popular origins of overseas visitors are Republic of Ireland, United States, and Germany.
The most popular activities undertaken by tourists in Wales are: walking, swimming, visiting historic attractions such as castles and visiting museums and galleries. The most popular attraction in Wales is the Museum of Welsh Life which attracts over 600,000 visitors annually.
In serviced accommodation in Wales, there are over 80,000 bed spaces available.
In 2015, the Welsh Government announced a 3-year plan, driven by Visit Wales, to promote Wales based on a series of annual themes:
It has been stated that these thematic years are:
- a long-term ambition to grow a stronger and more defined brand for tourism in Wales
- the opportunity to focus investment and innovation in tourism
- the need to drive an increase in visitor volume and value to Wales each year.
Tourist Information Centres
There are 74 tourist information centres around Wales, which often act as the first port of call for visitors, offering local information and accommodation booking services, as well as many other services.
This network of centres offers an essential service to the 13 million visitors that come to Wales every year. They are run by over 40 different managing authorities and Visit Wales co-ordinates the network to set and monitor standards of presentation, information and customer care.
History of Wales Tourist Board
The Wales Tourist Board was established in 1969 as a result of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 and its role was enhanced following the Tourism (Overseas promotion) (Wales) Act 1992. An 'Abolition Order' was passed by the National Assembly for Wales 23 November 2005 and full transfer of functions into the Welsh Assembly Government was made 1 April 2006. On that day, the Wales Tourist Board ceased to exist.