A Plaid Cymru government would create a new tourism region down the length of the west Wales coast, Adam Price has said.

Running from Ynys Môn in the north to Pembrokeshire in the south, ‘Arfor’ is designed to create an integrated tourism region to stem the tide of young people leaving communities to find work.

The region would also be home to a national academy for the Welsh tourism sector.

Mr Price said the academy would consist of an on-site hotel and conference centre, providing ‘hands-on’ learning to students in catering and hospitality from apprenticeships to degree level courses.

Plaid Cymru hopes the project will contribute to the “shift away from extractive tourism” and towards a sector that is “beneficial for both visitors and residents”.

Mr Price said: “Welsh culture is alive and thriving, yet in comparison our tourism industry has been left to wither.

“Our National Academy for Tourism will provide hands-on experience for students and will ensure that young people see that their region can provide a wide range of progressive career opportunities.

“By nurturing the abundance of talent in our western coastal region, this will enable local job creation and strengthen local ownership of the tourism sector.

“For too long, Wales has been exploited by outside interest, the type of extractive tourism that uses Wales as a resource.

“A Plaid Cymru government will encourage tourist enterprises which provide maximum benefit to local communities.

“Our culture is rich, diverse and evolving, and our tourism industry should reflect that.”

Tourism contributes around £6.9 billion annually to the Welsh economy and suppors around 206,000 full time jobs.

However, tourism can have a detrimental impact on communities.

Earlier this week, Gwynedd council vowed to reshape its visitor economy, putting local people first

Research conducted by the council identified that while the number of people employed by tourism in the county was significant, the level of tourism-related wages was lower compared with other sectors.

It is this imbalance that many believe is driving people out of rural areas such as Gwynedd and west Wales.

A tourism tax has been suggested as a potential remedy to the imbalance between tourism and local communities.


However, the Welsh Conservatives warn such tax would be a ‘hammer blow’ that would signal the end for many businesses.

Speaking out against a tourism tax, the Conservatives’ Russell George, said: “I fear that another hammer blow from Labour ministers could signal the end to some businesses in Wales – and the fear of a tourism tax continues to linger across Wales.

“Welsh Conservatives have been categorically clear that we will not introduce a tax on tourism in Wales, unlike Labour and other parties, who continue to toy with the barmy idea.”

The Tories have pledged to introduce a Tourism Towns Fund that would allow communities to access grants and funding, while they have also promised to maintain a 5% VAT cut for tourism businesses until April 2022.

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