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Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales Nigel Adams Head of Policy & Regeneration Visit Wales Reväst Conference on Cultural Tourism Goteborg 7 th May 2010
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales - Introduction • • • Wales & Welsh Tourism 2003 Cultural Tourism Strategy 2007 Review of Cultural Tourism Steering Group & 2008 Action Plan Lessons Learned and conclusions
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – Welsh Tourism • Wales is on the western part of Britain and has a devolved government responsible for Health, Education, Economic Development etc. • In 2008 it attracted 8. 5 m staying visitor trips from within the UK and 1 m overseas staying visitors • 700, 000 UK staying visitors came to Wales to undertake cultural activities as their main purpose and a total of 2. 8 m undertake cultural activities whilst they were on holiday in Wales • In a survey in 2009 40% of international staying visitors gave history and heritage as a reason for visiting Wales
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2003 strategy • The former Wales Tourist Board published a Cultural Tourism Strategy to provide a framework to improve the cultural tourism product and ensure its promotion • Uniqueness of Wales’ history, language and way of life helped differentiate Wales from other parts of the UK • Visitor Research indicated that Wales was failing to deliver on the attributes of Land of Legend & Mystery and Land of Music, Song & Poetry • Idea of Cultural Tourism Strategy was controversial, many felt that cultural aspects should be integral to everything we did.
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2003 strategy • Vision of strategy was ‘That Wales be recognised internationally as a destination offering a quality cultural tourism experience based on its unique culture which forms an essential part of the overall tourism experience’ • Vision was to be delivered through 4 thematic programmes – Improving visitor accessibility to Welsh culture – Improving the quality of the visitor experience – Raising the profile of Wales as a cultural tourism destination – Understanding the characteristics and needs of the cultural tourist
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2003 strategy • An action plan was incorporated as part of the strategy • A national partnership involving the principal cultural, tourism and economic bodies was established to coordinate delivery • A Cultural Tourism Coordinator was appointed on a 3 year contract. • The Wales Tourist Board was merged into the Welsh Assembly Government in April 2006 • The budget allocated to fund delivery of the strategy was inadequate and the partners were reluctant to share budgets, the strategy was running out of steam • The Coordinator’s funding ran out
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2007 Review • Consultants commissioned in 2007 to assess if the strategy provided the right framework to realise the vision and what more needs to be done. • Findings included: - Cultural distinctiveness is critical for destination standout in the marketplace - Compared with international competitors the cultural tourism experience in Wales is relatively weak - International best practice highlights the importance of sustained investment in the cultural assets of a country linked to a bold innovative approach
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2007 Review • • An integrated policy & action planning process needs to be adopted Establish small executive committee within the new Heritage Department with private sector representation to provide strategic leadership and drive initiatives. Retain existing Cultural Tourism Partnership as a forum for exchange of information and good practice Training is needed to bring cultural & tourism sectors together Greater co-ordination of promotion of cultural tourism products both in terms of literature and the web Extend the membership of the Wales Tourism Research Group to include cultural bodies. Maintain links with ECTN & other international bodies
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2008 Action Plan • Steering Group as recommended by Stevens prepared a 2 year Action Plan • Group has held series of topic meetings at the end of each one they identified 5 priority actions • The steering group then prioritised the actions on the basis of their impact, ability to attract funding and ease of delivery • Proposed actions are grouped in accordance with thematic programmes of the original Strategy • Draft discussed by Cultural Tourism Partnership • Potential for some early wins by working together
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – 2008 Action Plan Highlights of the Action Plan include: • € 20 m Convergence project to implement national heritage interpretation plan • Peoples Collection a dynamic online experience dedicated to the history of Wales • Impact Music & Tourism Atlantic Arc Interreg IVB project • Food Tourism Action Plan • Customer training schemes to improve knowledge of those working in tourism of Welsh culture and heritage • Coordination of PR activities
Developing Cultural Tourism In Wales – Lessons & Conclusions • Creating a partnership does not in itself achieve partnership working • Need to involve senior staff from the key partners in drawing up action plan • Partners must be prepared to share budgets to deliver common objectives • Any strategy must be backed up by realistic budgets • Staff in the partner organisations must be committed to working in partnership • Need for shared research and commitment to monitoring and evaluating progress
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