Tuesday 23 December 2014
The latest visitor figures released by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, for 2014, include a 25.9 per cent increase in visitors to Laugharne Castle, a site that has been at the centre of this year’s Dylan Thomas 100 Festival.
The medieval Strata Florida Abbey, which celebrated its 850th anniversary in 2014, also saw a 22.5 per cent increase in visitors. And sites such as Conwy Castle and Raglan Castle that featured in Cadw’s popular YouTube series ‘Castles from the Clouds’, which collectively have had more than 40,000 views, have also enjoyed an increase throughout the year.
Other highlights compared to 2013, include a 30.6 per cent increase at Easter, a 10.6 per cent increase over spring and a 5.6 per cent increase in the shoulder season (September-November). A total of over 2 million people have visited the 129 sites in Cadw’s care during 2014.
The figures have been welcomed by Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, as key peaks show visitors are choosing to explore Cadw sites all year through.
“This past year has been excellent for tourism in Wales,” Mr Skates said.
“For the first six months of 2014, international visits increased by 21 per cent, we’ve also seen growth in our market share of domestic visitors.
“Indications are that 2014 could be on a par with 2013 which was an exceptional year for Wales. It is particularly encouraging to see an increase in the shoulder season, showing that visitors are getting the message that Wales is open all year round.
“Our heritage is a vital part of the Welsh economy; the historic environment supports more than 30,000 jobs and contributes over £840 million to Wales’ economy each year.
“That’s why in 2015 we’ll be introducing the Heritage Bill to the Senedd; we want to take action to protect our past so that it continues to make a difference to the people of Wales, both now and in the future.”
The Bill will propose measures for the better protection and sustainable management of Wales’s historic environment. If passed, it will become the first heritage legislation ever enacted specifically for Wales.
Cadw’s visitor figures for 2014 show that events such as Open Doors, battle reenactments and cinema screenings have encouraged thousands of visitors to explore Welsh history throughout the year.
This year has also seen the installation of improved interpretation on site, the release of new educational activities and the launch of Cadw’s ‘Time Traveller’ marketing campaign.
The award-winning campaign saw comedy duo, Chris Corcoran and Elis James, encourage the nation to explore Welsh history through a series of humorous videos.
The campaign also saw the creation of CGI videos that ‘restored’ Welsh sites including Caerphilly Castle, Pentre Ifan burial Chamber and Segontium Roman Fortress in Caernarfon.
Cadw has also strengthened its family offer, by developing on-site activities such as colouring sheets and quizzes, as well as introducing an interactive kids section to its website.