Wednesday 24 September 2014
The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates today spoke of the importance of maximising the opportunities that Wales’ historic assets can offer the Welsh economy in his first speech on the Heritage aspect of his new role.
Addressing the National Trust’s Annual Delegates Conference at Tredegar House, the Deputy Minister said he recognised it was a challenging time for the historic environment in Wales, with public sector budgets under increasing pressure, and said it was a crucial time to forge strong partnerships across the sector.
Heritage is a significant contributor to the Welsh economy, bringing an estimated £840million to Wales’ economy added, with much of this coming from the impact of heritage related tourism.
The Deputy Minister said:
“I have arrived in my new role at a very exciting time for the heritage sector in Wales as we try to establish a more effective and responsive system for the management and conservation of our historic assets, while at the same time maximising the very real opportunities that heritage can offer to strengthen our economy.
“These are challenging times for everyone, with budgets across all sectors tight, but it is how we respond to this challenge that is key. Strong partnership working across the sector is vital if we are to protect our historic environments for the future, widen their reach and make the most of their economic potential.
“Tourism will play a crucial role in this, which is why I am pleased that my new ministerial portfolio connects these two. We need to keep our heritage tourism fresh and relevant, making sure we have the facilities and products in place to improve visitors experience.”
The Deputy Minister went on to say he was looking forward to presenting the Heritage Bill to the Senedd next year. The Bill will protect and manage the Welsh historic environment so future generations can appreciate and learn from it.
“I feel fortunate to have culture and heritage in my new portfolio and feel excited about what I have already seen. We are a country steeped in history and with many cultural attractions at our fingertips – we must make the most of our proud heritage, unlock its economic potential and ensure it continues to be enjoyed by generations to come.”