Tourism marketing for Monmouthshire needs to be more imaginative, innovative and strategic, says Cllr Jo Watkins.
As the tourism sector in Wales prepares to reopen, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate is calling called for a more imaginative events-based future approach to tourism marketing in Monmouthshire.
The majority of our tourism industry has been on-hold for almost a year and the sector’s income, planning and potential growth have all been hit badly by the pandemic. Before Covid, around 2.2 million people visited Monmouthshire each year and tourism is worth over £245 million pounds to the Monmouthshire economy.
Jo Watkins has seen first-hand the scucess of visitor-generating tourist events such as the Abergavenny Food Festival and special cultural & music events at Chepstow Racecourse and Raglan Castle.
Now the Caldicot councillor says a much more strategic events-focused approach to marketing needs to be taken by Monmouthshire County Council, Visit Monmouthshire and Visit Wales aimed at diverse special interest markets in addition to the established outdoor activities and 'escape to the countryside' visitors.
Jo Watkins said:
"Tourism authorities promoting Monmouthshire should already be planning ahead for the 2022 tourist season by targeting new groups of potential visitors.
"Local tourism and hospitality businesses, from restaurants and hotels to gift shops, want to see an imaginative and innovative marketing plan. This plan should be driven forward by new seasonal events that attract visitors to Monmounthshire who might not have previously considered visiting.’’
The Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Monmouth & South Wales East says lessons can be learned from successful cultural events in Powys and Herefordshire.
She added: "It’s time for Monmouthshire to take a bold tourism initiative that mirrors the national and international appeal of successful events such as the Brecon Jazz Festival, the Hay Festival and the Green Man Festival. Across the border in Herefordshire, the Three Choirs Festival, the El Dorado Festival, the Ledbury Poetry Festival and the Bromyard Folk Festival annually attract the attention of special cultural interest groups.’’
‘’Monmouthshire’s natural beauty and our excellent facilities for outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing, canoeing and cycling is a solid tourism base, but we must diversify and not be afraid to try something bold and new.’’