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Mid Wales Tourism leaders call for industry unity and collaboration

MWT Cymru chief executive Val Hawkins. Credit: Phil Blagg.

The importance of tourism industry collaboration and unity was emphasised by speakers at the annual meeting of an independent organisation that represents around 600 tourism and hospitality business across Mid Wales.

The impact of Welsh Government legislation on the industry was one of the main discussion points at a members’ forum which followed the annual meeting of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism) held at Hafan yr Afon, Newtown on Tuesday.

MWT Cymru chairman Rowland Rees-Evans, chief executive Val Hawkins, MBE, and Wales Tourism Alliance chairman Suzy Davies all stressed the need for tourism and hospitality businesses to stay united.

Addressing her final annual meeting before retiring next year, Mrs Hawkins outlined MWT Cymru’s role and work, emphasising: “We are here to sell Mid Wales region as a must-visit destination.

“We are experienced at working at the interface of the private and public sectors and it’s extremely important that we build on that collaborative approach.”

She is keen to expand seasonal and themed offers to attract more visitors during 2024 when MWT Cymru will be rolling out a rewards and incentives project, funded by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, to support towns and communities in Powys.

Mrs Hawkins encouraged businesses to collaborate with MWT Cymru and Visit Wales to attract more international visitors to Mid Wales by offering unique experiences and to focus sharply on customer service and repeat business.

“In these uncertain times, the unity and resilience of our business community are more critical than ever,” she added. “Together, we will navigate these challenges and ensure that Mid Wales continues to shine as a leading destination.”

Mrs Davies said there were positive signs that the Welsh Government is beginning to listen to the WTA and other industry leaders’ concerns about  the cumulative impact of new legislation.

The cited examples of how the WTA and others were trying  to influence new legislation for the statutory regulation of accommodation providers, a proposed tourism tax and a reduction in the school summer holiday in Wales.

“We need to stand together with a united voice and avoid any sense of isolation when representing the tourism industry,” added Mrs Davies, who heads an alliance representing around 6,000 businesses in all sectors of tourism industry across Wales. “What we are doing collectively is working.”

Mr Rees-Evans thanked the WTA for its work on behalf of the tourism industry and MWT Cymru staff for keeping members “ahead of the curve” with information about  Welsh Government legislation.

“Without MWT Cymru, tourism and hospitality businesses in Mid Wales would not have a voice,” he said. “We punch way above our weight in terms of the work we do on behalf of the industry and it’s really important that tourism businesses become members if they want to have an influence.”

MWT Cymru re-elected Greg Loweth, business development manager at The Metropole Hotel and Spa, Llandrindod Wells as a Powys trade director. He was joined on the board by Shane Logan, general manager of Powis Castle and Garden, Welshpool.

MWT Cymru  represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality operators across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia. Businesses wishing to join the not for profit, membership organisation are asked to contact Tel: 01654 702653 or email: [email protected] .