Tourism leaders in Mid Wales have welcomed today’s Welsh Government’s decision to reopen indoor hospitality and the wider tourism sector on May 17.
First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the plans to lift lockdown restrictions on hospitality and tourism following a call from the Covid-19 Tourism Taskforce, set up by Welsh Government, to bring forward the reopening dates in line with England and Scotland. The taskforce represents the hospitality and tourism industry in Wales.
Today’s announcement means that people will be able to have a drink or meal inside a pub or restaurant in Wales for the first time in more than five months from May 17.
All tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions in Wales will also reopen on that date in time for the Spring Bank Holiday. Outdoor hospitality and tourism reopen on April 26.
Rowland Rees-Evans, chairman of MWT Cymru, which represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd, warmly welcomed the announcement.
Earlier this week, he backed the taskforce’s letter to the First Minister and warned that the tourism and hospitality sector in Wales would lose out if the reopening dates were not in alignment with England.
“It’s very pleasing that the First Minister has listened to the hospitality and tourism industry and that we now have a roadmap so that we know exactly where we are. We now have the summer to look forward to and it shows that the vaccination programme is working.
“We all must continue to work together to ensure that we keep everyone safe.”
Taskforce member Steve Hughson, Mid Wales Regional Tourism Forum chair and chief executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) at Llanelwedd, also welcomed the announcement.
“Taking account of all the data, which is moving quickly, the Taskforce felt the time was right to move to indoor hospitality as soon as we could after an assessment of the impact of reopening outdoor hospitality,” he said.
“We are delighted the First Minister has take scientific advice, looked at the data and moved quicker than the original time frame.”
Speaking on behalf of the RWAS, he added: “As a member of the Event Wales Industry Advisory Group, we continue to work very closely with the Welsh Government with regards to the events sector.
“We continue to push for test events and the safe reopening of the events sector which has been the worst affected during the pandemic as we have been unable to open in any form since March last year.”
Fellow taskforce member, Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) chairman Andrew Campbell said he felt a deep sense of relief with the announcement.
“I would like to thank the First Minister and the Welsh Government for listening to our representations,” he added. “The announcement is very welcome and is just what is needed. I am delighted for tourism and hospitality businesses in Wales.
“Visitors to Wales will now have a number of options of where to go and it will certainly make destination management easier.”
Other taskforce members based in Mid Wales include Adrian Greason-Walker, WTA’s policy advisor who lives at Nantmel, near Rhayader and Anthony Rosser, Hospitality Cymru’s chair who is general manager and operations director of Lake Vyrnwy Hotel.