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Mid Wales will need a robust tourism sector for pandemic recovery

Val Hawkins MWT Cymru’s chief executive.

Mid Wales will need a robust tourism sector as the region bounces back from the Covid-19 virus pandemic, says the chief executive of an organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses.

MWT Cymru, which has member businesses of all sizes across Powys, Ceredigion and South Gwynedd, has been busier than ever since the pandemic lockdown restrictions began in March.

Chief executive Val Hawkins says the company is supporting members remotely and has assisted many of them to apply for grants and receive much needed funding.

“When we emerge from this crisis, Mid Wales is going to need a robust tourism sector to support the country’s economic recovery,” she said. “The total economic impact of tourism on the Powys economy is £864.5 million a year, supporting 11,662 jobs and attracting around 4.69 million visitors.

“In Ceredigion, tourism contributes around £331 million annually to the economy, supports 5,400 jobs and attracts more than 2.73 million visitors.

“The lockdown restrictions have had a massive impact on Mid Wales tourism and hospitality businesses, as the vast majority have been completely closed since the start of this crisis,” she explained.

“On a brighter note, many members are reporting that they are already receiving enquiries for later in the year and there are waiting lists of people wishing to buy caravans on some holiday parks. There is definitely pent up demand as people are planning to staycation in Mid Wales.

“We and our members look forward to welcoming visitors back to Mid Wales but only when the time is right and with the support of friends and neighbours in the local community.

“It’s important that our businesses and communities have plans in place for when the restrictions are lifted. Our members take public security and safety seriously and will take all the necessary measures to keep our businesses, employees, visitors and communities safe.”

She revealed that MWT Cymru’s members were generally supportive of the Welsh Government’s cautious approach to lifting the lockdown restrictions in Wales to control the virus and keep people safe.

They also welcomed the financial support made available to businesses by the Welsh and UK Governments during the lockdown.

“It’s vital that everyone heeds the sensible advice given by the Welsh Government, so that we avoid a second spike of the virus which would be disastrous not only for the tourism industry but the country in general,” she added.

“Whilst holidays are important, here in Wales we are all looking forward to spending time with our friends and family again, but only when it’s safe to do so.

“We believe the pandemic is going to have a huge impact on the tourism industry going forward due to the loss of income and the likely restrictions imposed on businesses. However, we hope that even more British people will plan to visit Mid Wales in the future now that quarantine restrictions are being imposed on overseas travel.”