Tourism businesses across Mid Wales are bouncing back strongly as visitors from across the English border return following the continued relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.
Such is the pent up demand for a ‘staycation’ break in Mid Wales that Lon Lodges at Nantmel, near Rhayader, which offers luxury self-catering holiday accommodation in two lodge cottages and a Stellar Safari Lodge, has only a few dates available until December.
Owners Kerena and Stephen Pugh, who normally report a high annual occupancy rate for their five-star holiday accommodation, have not been surprised by the demand.
Some bookings have been rolled over from 2020 when pandemic restrictions prevented guests from visiting. However, Kerena says enquiries continue to flood in from people who are finding it difficult to find available accommodation.
Wherever possible, she is directing callers to other quality accommodation businesses in the Rhayader area. Lon Lodges is a member of the Rhayader 2000 tourism group which is currently going through a process to rebrand the town and surrounding area, including the spectacular Elan Valley, as The Outdoors Capital of Wales.
“It’s really busy and I have few availability gaps for the lodges until December,” said Kerena. “It hasn’t come as a surprise to be honest, but the lodges have been booked up much earlier this year.
“We are getting guests booking who do not normally holiday in this country, but the pandemic is preventing them from going abroad. People are so grateful to get away and it doesn’t seem to matter how far they have to travel.
“Since Monday, when people living in England were allowed to resume visiting Wales, Rhayader has been much busier. People love the outdoors here with walking, cycling, fishing, wildlife and golf very popular.”
It’s a similar story at the Mid Wales coast, where Islawrffordd Luxury Holiday Park at Talybont, near Barmouth is expecting a bumper year.
The park, owned by the Evans family, has 201 holiday homes, 75 fully serviced, super pitches for touring caravans and motorhome and luxury facilities, including a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi.
Director Dylan Evans says he is expecting to see the touring park full throughout the holiday season. “It’s definitely busier with bookings this year and the calls keep coming,” he said.
“We are grateful to have a second bite of tourism industry this year because people who normally go abroad on holiday are now staycationing. After a horrendous 2020, when we were shut for the majority of the year, we are looking forward to bouncing back.
“It is going to be a great summer and I just hope we have good weather like last year. We have been getting busier every day this week and we are expecting to be full at the weekend.
“The only disappointment is that our award-winning facilities cannot open. Subject to Covid cases remaining low, we will be able to serve food and alcohol outdoors on April 26 and indoors from May 17, when our shower and toilet facilities will also reopen.”
Plas Robin Rural Retreats at Llandyssil, Montgomery has reported high demand for the company’s two luxury lodges, with bookings taken until September.
Since the lodges opened last July, Carol and David Parry have welcomed guests from across England, Wales and Scotland who love escaping to the peace and tranquillity of the Mid Wales countryside.
“We have invested around £500,000 in the lodges and have planning permission for a third, which would have been built by now were it not for Covid,” said Carol.
“We were only open for 11 weeks last year due to the lockdowns but were fully booked throughout and we are delighted that there had been a lot of repeat bookings.
“We have chosen high end lodges because people want to come to somewhere unique and quite luxurious. Our guests really enjoy the views, tranquillity and the opportunity to experience country living.
“We have met some lovely people and it’s great to be able to bring them to an area where there are so many places to visit and see.”
All three businesses are members of MWT Cymru, which represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.