A national conference is coming to Port Talbot to demonstrate how a form of tourism in the South Wales Valleys, that includes and positively impacts local people, can benefit business across the area.
The Valleys Regional Park is a network of visitor trails, facilities, country parks, heritage sites and nature reserves across the Valleys and has been developed through a partnership of more than 40 organisations working together.
The overall aim is to utilise the natural environment and heritage of the Valleys as a social and economic regeneration driver.
The Valleys Regional Park Partnership is making a significant contribution to the promotion of the Valleys as a tourism destination and has benefitted from European Regional Development Funding through the Welsh Government to improve tourism facilities and engage communities in tourism related activities.
Community Tourism in the Valleys – A National Conference, will be held at The Orangery (pictured), Margam Park, over two days on 23 April and 24 April and will showcase the impact community tourism has on the Valleys Regional Park, an area that spans from Cwmbran to Kidwelly.
Community tourism, sometimes called community-based tourism, is a form of tourism which aims to include and benefit local communities as well as visitors to an area.
Organised by The Valleys Regional Park (VRP) Partnership, the conference is drawing leading tourism and travel industry speakers, including James Turner from Hidden Britain, a charity for preservation, protection and promotion of rural environment.
Mr Turner has worked extensively with rural communities and is an expert in community development.
Also set to speak is Steve Keenan from Travel Perspective; he is a former online travel editor at Times Online and Sunday Times.
Minister for Housing and Regeneration Carl Sargeant said: “I’m delighted to endorse this conference.
“It demonstrates how the Valleys Regional Park Programme is working with communities to develop tourism opportunities as part of wider regeneration activity.
“I look forward to hearing the views of stakeholders and experts on how we can best sustain this work in the long term as part of the Welsh Government’s recently announced regeneration policy, Vibrant and Viable Places.”
The Welsh Government and Capital Region Tourism are partners in the Valleys Regional Park Programme which also includes all the Local Authorities in the area.
There are over a million residents in the valleys area who are within relatively easy reach of natural environment. The fact communities are so close to the attractions, visitors coming from within and outside the region can be encouraged to use facilities and spend cash within the deprived areas, particularly our town centres, thereby enhancing their regeneration potential.
Tourists including day trippers spend around £6bn annually in Wales and the last available nationwide survey of day visitors showed that approximately 20% of the leisure visits in Wales were to the countryside.
Included in the conference’s itinerary will be Valleys Regional Park site visits, round table discussions with key speakers and industry experts to provide delegates with advice on how they can utilise community tourism to the benefit of their business or local area.
Businesses that wish to attend the National Tourism Conference and learn how they can benefit from the approach of the VRP, can register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
More info www.thevalleys.co.uk/