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New Mid Wales attractions group meets to share ideas

Representatives of attractions located across Mid Wales gathered at Powis Castle, a National Trust property in Welshpool, for the first of what they hope will become regular meetings to share ideas on how to attract more visitors to the region.

The meeting was organised by MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing 550 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd.

The informal network group was suggested by Emma Thompson, general manager of Powis Castle, National Trust and a MWT Cymru director, at a MWT Cymru members’ meeting held at Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, near Newtown last November.

Represented at the first meeting were the Vale of Rheidol and Talyllyn Railways, King Arthur’s Labyrinth, Corris Craft Centre and Corris Mine Explorers, Gregynog Hall, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, Newtown Textile Museum, Portmeirion, Broneirion, Llandinam, the Centre for Alternative Technology, near Machynlleth and Powis Castle.

Mrs Thompson said Powis Castle, National Trust was keen to collaborate with other attractions to attract more visitors to Mid Wales and to work with the local population. The region had a very family friendly and diverse offering for visitors.

Stuart Williams, Talyllyn Railway’s general manager, said it was important that attractions ensured that visitors knew what to do while they were visiting the region.

MWT Cymru’s chief executive Val Hawkins said that research had been undertaken to discover why people visited Mid Wales. This has enabled MWT to focus on key themes and develop a new image style to promote the region.

The #realmidwales social media messaging and recent enhancements to the regional website visitmidwales.co.uk are focused on four specific themes – health and wellbeing, wildlife and nature, adventure and sport and travel routes. MWT’s aim was to target visitors within two to three hours travel time and to attract a new generation of visitors to the region.

The group suggested producing maps and itineraries focused on the main travel routes through Mid Wales. The promotion would work alongside the Wales Way, a family of three national routes that lead into the heart of real Wales.

The Coastal Way travels the west coast around Cardigan Bay, a 180-mile road-trip between the sea and mountains. The Cambrian Way crosses the spine of Wales for 185 miles between Llandudno and Cardiff, through National Parks and big green spaces. The North Wales Way travels 75 miles past mighty castles into the island of Anglesey.

Mrs Hawkins said: “I am delighted that we had so many key attractions represented around the table. So much can be achieved by working together to promote the very best the region has to offer visitors rather than working in isolation.”