Back in April, I wrote at length about our decision to look again at what the Council could do better to support the development of the tourism industry in the County.
Taking into account visitor research findings, previous experience and consultation with local tourism businesses and stakeholders, I can now confirm that the Council will shortly be creating a specialist Tourism Unit with a staff of two dedicated officers, supported with a significant budget.
In brief, the Unit's duties will include:
- Coordinating and delivering the revised Neath Port Talbot Destination Management Plan.
- Strengthening relationships with partners such as Visit Wales, Welsh Government Major Events, Natural Resources Wales and others to raise the profile of Neath Port Talbot as a distinct visitor destination and a key part of the tourism industry in the wider region.
- Attracting further public and private sector investment to help existing provision to remain competitive and enhance their visitor experience.
- Acting as a single point of contact for investors seeking to create new tourism developments in the area.
- Providing specialist advice and assistance to local SMEs operating in the tourism sector to maximise job creation opportunities and high quality developments.
- Identifying existing Council property and land that could be suitable for use as assets for the tourism industry.
- Securing benefits from major annual and other high profile events taking place in the County or nearby.
Underlying all of this will be the need to make early and sustained progress on some key objectives that we have set as part of this review.
If we are to make the most of the opportunities available then our efforts need to concentrate on increasing the number and length of overnight stays in Neath Port Talbot, presenting our product as a more packaged and coordinated offering and establishing the County as an easily accessible gateway to what the rest of South West Wales has to offer.
The hard work begins here.
Councillor Rob Jones