PEMBROKESHIRE County Council could axe its tourism department in a bid to save money - despite the industry’s vital role in the area’s economy.

A management plan for tourism – the county’s biggest employer – is under review as it reaches its five year conclusion.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s involvement with the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership (DPP) began in 2010 with a management plan published and adopted in 2013.

Part of the council’s transformation programme is considering the complete closure of its tourism department, which would save around £132,000.

However, it would risk losing around £1million of press coverage a year generated by the team, whose manager has not been replaced following retirement in November, as well as sending a “negative message” to potential funders such as Visit Wales.

A report to committee adds that the team has helped business access millions of pounds of Welsh Government, EU and other grant funding.

Without the team’s advice businesses may not secure funding and will potentially result in fewer tourists and a “larger multiplier loss to the Pembrokeshire economy”.

Tourist Information Centres are also under threat.

At the authority’s first meeting of 2019 the partnerships overview and scrutiny committee will discuss a peer review of the tourism function within regeneration which highlights a lack of high level support, despite is £585million contribution to the local authority.

The review found that council should be a “major player” in relation to tourism but recognised financial pressures and the existence of alternative development agents available.

The destination management includes ensuring the quality of the environment and infrastructure the report adds, regardless of investment in marketing, and is a “critical issue” for the county with the need for a new plan.

Committee members are asked to discuss the previous work and achievements of the DPP as well as taking a view on closing the council tourism service and establishing a new single organisation to deliver destination management.

The committee meets on Thursday at County Hall at 10am.