Edition 2 • November 2004
Cynghrair Twristiaeth Cymru
Wales Tourism Alliance
WTA Conference 2004 Special Welsh Welsh Assembly Assembly Government Government And And Tourism: Tourism: AA Roadmap Roadmap To To Reorganisation Reorganisation
Building Foundations For Tourism’s Future
Smoking: Next Year’s Burning Issue?
2004 – A Year In Focus
Minister Pledges Major Role For Industry
WTA CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE
Building Foundations For The Future Of Tourism By Julian Burrell, Wales Tourism Alliance Chairman A WARM WELCOME to the Wales Tourism Alliance’s third annual conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.
that he wants us to play the central role in assisting with the introduction and implementation of the new structural arrangements. He expects WTA to provide the Welsh Assembly with industry opinion, expertise and ideas to build on the strong foundations that WTB will leave behind.
The annual conference is your forum and this year it provides you with the opportunity to influence the future shape of tourism in Wales for decades to come.
It is a position of influence that in turn requires a lot of our members and our officers. We must demonstrate responsibility, energy, expertise and firmness of belief. Such a position must be built on sound foundations; the WTA Conference is that foundation.
Conference 2004 forms a pivotal point in the discussions between the industry and the National Assembly about the future direction of Government support for tourism in Wales, following the decision by WAG to take WTB inhouse.
Conference 2004 is a platform to produce a working partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government. It is an exciting opportunity and your contribution is essential if we are to properly play a leading role in drawing up the road map to reorganisation.
Every aspect of Assembly-funded assistance, from international marketing campaigns to Section Four grants, will be under new management. I am delighted that Economic Development and Transport Minister, Andrew Davies, will be here to bring us up to date on developments. Along with WTB Chairman Philip Evans, Mr. Davies will speak at Monday’s forwardlooking session.
I promise it will not be all hard work – Conference 2004 will also feature the return of last year’s highly successful guest speaker, body language expert Billy Dixon – so beware of what you are
Julian Burrell at the WTA Conference 2003
wearing, your stance, posture, mannerisms and facial expressions. Billy will be watching! Our Sunday evening dinner promises to be a grand occasion, within the bounds of this incredible venue and with the now established charity auction that will pick your pockets for a worthy cause. WTA’s third conference promises to be historic and enjoyable; please ensure you attend and help form the future of the industry in Wales.
Andrew Davies has made it clear that he wants us to play the central role in assisting with the introduction and implementation of the new structural arrangements.
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
We have come a long way as a trade body in the last few years. We have developed a cohesion, responsibility and representation that has clearly shown itself in the dealings we have had with Government at all levels.
If you would like further information about the Wales Tourism Alliance please contact us at the address below: Wales Tourism Alliance, Floor One, Dominions House North, Queen Street, Cardiff. CF10 2AR TEL: 029 2038 4440 FAX: 029 2039 9392 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Wales Tourist Board
WTA is now a force to be reckoned with; we are the widely accepted voice of the tourism industry. Andrew Davies has made it clear
THE WTA EXECUTIVE
is to campaign in 2005 for improvements to three constant industry bugbears, which all relate to the provision of visitor support facilities by Local Authorities. These points crop up in discussions between industry professionals and WTA representatives regularly and, as a result, feature in almost all Alliance conversations with politicians and Government figures. They are: Tourism Information Centres: – “The majority of TICs are caught between two forces – increasing restraints on LA funding and diminishing return for
traditional services”. This is actually taken from a consultation document currently circulating in England, but it applies to many areas of Wales; Toilets: – Always being brought up at meetings is the failure of some Councils to keep toilet facilities open out of season – and when they are open, to keep them clean; Signposting: – To quote WTB – “Whilst the Assembly has adopted a uniform approach to signage at national level, the approach amongst individual LAs is variable. The result is a lack of consistency and contrasting standards across Wales”.
Most of this comes down to funding issues, but also the importance that individual Local Authorities place on tourism. When their budgets are under pressure, it could well be that visitor support facilities are a sector to suffer – to the detriment of the tourism industry and indeed to the local and national economy. Next year WTA intends to campaign widely and strongly to argue the case for better service provision and appropriate funding for services for our visitors.
Rally Calls Boost SW Business By Dr Colin Rouse, South West Wales Tourism Associations THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
development in the south and west of Wales in the last few months has been the launch of “Gallu”. This is a two-year Objective One ESF project with the South West Wales Tourism Partnership, Tourism Training Forum for Wales and the four area tourism associations all working in partnership. It is aimed at micro and SME businesses that impact on the visitor experience. It will help develop and support tourism businesses, improve service levels, employment practices and increase competitiveness. The project employs a regional coordinator and two area facilitators who will work through the four local tourist associations. Carmarthen Tourist Association, working in partnership with the County Council, South West Wales Tourism Partnership and the
WDA, has received Objective One funding to develop its membership base. Known as “Carmarthenshire Tourism Network Development” it will provide funding in excess of £250,000 per annum for the next three years. This will allow the employment of three full time officers who will work with the grass roots to assist businesses to become more competitive and deliver actions needed by the sector. Yet again, the Wales Rally GB has just swept (a blink of the eye and they are gone!) through south and west Wales. Booming bed occupancy was the order of the weekend throughout the region – despite the rally being centred on Cardiff. Geoff Haden, (chairman of Tourism Swansea) turned his self-catering into a mini service area for three teams and is looking forward to establishing a marketing partnership between Honda racing and Swansea. Staging the refuelling area at the National Botanic Garden of Wales raised the garden’s PR profile and the servicing area at Velindre certainly placed Swansea into the international news. The foresight of Andrew Davies, Economic and Transport Minister at the National Assembly Government, in bringing the rally to the region has not yet been recognised by many, despite the benefits to the area.
Wales Rally 2004
Unfortunately, because the Rally was brought forward two months, the event
Carmarthenshire Farm & Country Holidays Group Members at the International Sheepdog Trials at Tywi Valley
clashed with the International Sheep Dog Trials in the Tywi valley. This latter event brought huge numbers of families from all round the world into the Tywi valley and they spent well on food and accommodation over a three day period. The mud bath on the last day did not spoil the fun, but merely brought back memories of the Royal Welsh Show in the days when it moved around the counties! Everyone went home with a positive view of tourism in South West Wales as well as some of our mud.
© Wales Tourist Board
Campaign To Put Visitor Facilities First
Banking On North Wales Tourism By Esther Roberts, North Wales Tourism THE GOVERNOR OF the Bank of England Mervyn King addressed 80 North Wales Tourism members at a Breakfast Seminar held at the Imperial Hotel, Llandudno in July. The Governor was on a fact finding mission in North Wales and asked to meet Company members, acknowledging the importance of the industry to the region’s economy and the role of the smaller medium sized business sector in an informal atmosphere. The Governor invited questions and views from members. Acknowledgement of the importance of North Wales Tourism as a trade organisation was further confirmed with the acceptance of Sandie Dawe, Communications Director of VisitBritain, as an Advisor on the Board. Sandie’s input is already proving invaluable.
industry in North Wales, representing the interests of its members on both a local and regional level and nationally through the Wales Tourism Alliance. Naturally, our members are concerned about the possible implications of the Welsh Assembly Government’s decision to absorb the WTB within its own administration. Working with partners within the industry through the Wales Tourism Alliance will ensure that the key elements of support from WTB for the industry will survive. The decision of the Welsh Assembly Government confirms the importance of a strong tourism membership-based organisation which can look after the interest of the industry in the long term. The Imperial Hotel, Llandudno
The company has continued to deliver a wide range of services to over 1200 members from all sectors of the tourism industry. The services provided include regional marketing opportunities and business advice to the industry. One of the most visible services is that provided by our distribution facility which we delivered in excess of 7 million promotional leaflets to outlets throughout the region, Mid Wales and the North West of England in 2003. In addition to servicing its members, NWT works with a range of tourism organisations to deliver projects aimed at increasing the profile of the region as a holiday destination, as well as servicing the visitor through its management of 16 Tourist Information Centres within the region. Most importantly NWT provides a strong voice for the tourism
WTA LOOKING BACK
A Year Is A Long Time In Politics, But In Welsh Tourism… Here’s
Twelve Months In The Life Of WTA 2003
WTA CHAIRMAN JULIAN BURRELL thanked delegates, sponsors and organisers after a highly successful second WTA Conference at Llandudno.
Visitor figures for Wales for 2003 – up to the end of July – compared well with other parts of the UK. Visitor nights, against 2002, were up 21% – with no change for Scotland, England’s seven per cent down and Northern Ireland’s eight per cent down. Expenditure in Wales during this period was £1,300 million, up 20 per cent on 2002. Scotland was up just two per cent, England down one per cent and Northern Ireland down 29 per cent. WTB organised Showcase Wales, at City Hall, Cardiff on 26 – 27 November – and it provided an excellent opportunity for the trade to meet with a wide range of overseas operators. Trade Comments included:- “A lot of serious enquiries”; “Magnificent organisation”; “Goodbye World Travel Market, Hello Showcase Wales”; “Really impressed with the organisation; the buyers had been very well looked after”; “More serious enquires in one morning than the days at the World Travel Market”.
Pictured at the WTA dinner at last year’s WTA Conference is, from left to right, the Imperial Hotel’s Geoffrey Lofthouse , independent consultant Dr Adrienne Sweeney and Mick Payne, Chairman of Capital Region Tourism
THE RURAL ECONOMY of Wales would benefit greatly from the knock on effects of local tourism businesses that have enjoyed a boom year for visitors, said WTA Chairman Julian Burrell at the Royal Welsh Show Winter Fair at Builth Wells.
The Assembly Government had made available to the WTB a total budget of £42m last year – nearly double the previous funding. “This year was the first real opportunity the Board has had in modern times to go out with some real clout and win over visitors in a very competitive marketplace,” he said. “Tourism in Wales pumps money into local economies that are often the most vulnerable, keeping communities alive. The return is way above the £42m invested – we are a multimillion pound industry with branches in every town and village in Wales.”
Showcase Wales 2003
Consultants presented a draft report to the Assembly’s Statutory Registration Working Group which addressed the concerns and queries raised by AMs and the trade.
Richard Tobias, currently Vice Chairman of the Tourism Alliance in England was appointed Director General; Digby Jones took the new role of President. Bob Cotton became chairman of the management board and ABTA’s Ian Reynolds treasurer.
IN HIS NEW YEAR member’s message, Julian Burrell said WTA had in a short time achieved a great deal and gone a long way to removing the derisory ‘fragmented industry’ tag that has been attached to Tourism for so long.
Pentre Bach Holiday Cottages at Llwyngwril, run by WASCO Vice-Chair Margaret Smyth, won the Sustainable Tourism Business Award at the recent ARENA Network Wales Environment Awards. The WTB’s Big Country campaign was launched on television for four weeks in January on ITV Central, Granada, HTV West, the M4 Corridor and Hampshire regions, plus national satellite TV.
WTA LOOKING BACK WTA URGED ALL Welsh Westminster Members of Parliament in the House of Commons to back an Early Day Motion calling for VAT to be reduced on tourism. With the exception of Germany and Denmark, the UK is the only country within the EU that does not have a lower rate of VAT on tourism.
Suggestions were being made – and fought – that Local Authorities could introduce a tourist or “bed tax” on hotel accommodation as an additional source of revenue. Bob Cotton, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, believed any suggestion of a tourist tax, on top of the VAT which visitors already have to pay, was unfair in principle and posed huge difficulties in interpretation and collection. WTA sought industry opinion on recent suggestions that Wales should have its own public holiday to mark St David’s Day.
WTA CHAIRMAN JULIAN BURRELL met Andrew Davies, the Minister for Economic Development and Transport, to express industry concerns over Press reports of reduced funding for Tourism in the coming year.
The Minister reassured WTA, stating WTB would be receiving more than £22.5m in core grant in aid in 2004-05 – an increase of some £300k on the already record level provided for 2003-04. WTB were also expected to receive more than £10.8m for approved EU funding projects and/or Phase 1 programmes which were coming to an end. In 2004-05, WTB already knew that it would receive some £4.9m to complete them. Discussions had taken place with WEFO and Assembly
© Wales Tourist Board
WTA had a very positive response and would be reinforcing the case during a series of visits to see Welsh MPs in the coming months.
The school holidays bring thousands flocking to the beaches around Wales
Government officials and WTB were preparing to submit new and realistic applications for second phases of its Integrated Business Support and Marketing. The WTA has had a very good response from AMs regarding a bill launched in the House of Lords by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, that would give the Assembly the power to outlaw smoking in pubs and restaurants. The Minister for Health and Social Services, Jane Hutt, advised WTA that should the Assembly be granted powers to ban smoking in public places “it would want to listen to the views of different sectors before embarking on any draft regulations”.
to discuss an NAW report. Talk of altering traditional school holidays surfaced again. Suggestions included a fixed two-week holiday in April not be linked to Easter; exams in April/May; a reduction in summer holidays, a two-week break in October and earlier start to the break in July with a mid August finish. The WTB launched an informative and userfriendly travel planner site (www.traveltradewales.com) to make it easier for overseas and UK operators to link with industry contacts and build visitor programmes.
The WTA broke new ground for member representation when two Executive representatives joined an hour long NAW Committee question and answer session on Statutory Registration in Cardiff Bay. WTA Chairman Julian Burrell and WTA Executive North Wales Member, British Hospitality Association UK vicechairman, David Williams, attended the Economic Development and Transport Committee
WTA Chairman Julian Burrell (left) with EDT Minister Andrew Davies at the WTA Reception at the National Assembly for Wales
WTA LOOKING BACK A Year Is A Long Time In Politics, But In Welsh Tourism… Here’s
Twelve Months In The Life Of WTA
ANDREW DAVIES, EDT MINISTER, sponsored a reception for WTA members to widen awareness of Tourism matters and Alliance activities at the Assembly in March.
The event was a huge success, with 23 of the 60 Assembly Members dropping in during the ninety-minute get together to discuss tourism matters with the fifteen WTA industry representatives that were able to attend from all parts of Wales. WASCO CHAIR Howard Jenkins and WTA Chair met up with representatives of the Valuation Office Agency to discuss trade concerns regarding the new format Business Rating Forms that had been sent to selfcatering operators. The WTA appointed Mid Wales Tourism to facilitate discussions to form a small serviced sector accommodation providers’ forum.
© Wales Tourist Board
WAVA and WTB developed and re-branded the Star Attractions scheme to produce the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service.
WTA CHAIRMAN JULIAN BURRELL met Government and parliamentary representatives to bring them up to date on key Welsh tourism issues in a series of House of Commons meetings.
Don Touhig MP (Islwyn), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Wales Office; Roger Williams MP (Brecon and Radnor); Hywel Williams MP (Caernarfon) and David Hanson MP (Delyn, also PPS to the Prime Minister) provided a high level, pan-Wales audience for this information dissemination. WTA was very pleased to announce that both The Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club became members of the WTA in the past month. A Human Resources management toolkit for the tourism industry has just been published by WTB, in conjunction with the Tourism Training Forum for Wales. Cardiff International Airport dealt with 1.94 million passengers in the year ending 31 March; this is up from 1.51 in the previous 12 months. EDT MINISTER ANDREW DAVIES addressed both the Wales Tourism Alliance Executive and General Member Meeting at Builth Wells in May – the first time a Government Minister had attended and participated in a WTA working meeting.
In an informative two-hour session, WTA members quizzed the Minister – and his senior civil servant Bob Macey – on Section Four grants, the criteria for grant awards, training, WTB funding and Statutory Registration and Grading Harmonisation. WTA Chair Julian Burrell welcomed the creation of the Small Serviced Sector Forum and its new Chairman June Jenkins and said that he believed that this was another important step forward in improving communications between the trade, WTB and Government.
Passengers boarding at Cardiff International Airport
The Tourism Training Forum for Wales (TTFW) launched a new website which provides advice and information on
Minister Andrew Davies’ video address at last year’s WTA Conference
operating a tourism business in Wales. The site, www.whodoiask.com, is independent, free to all tourism operators and aims to assist both the established business as well as supporting newcomers or those looking to diversify into the industry . The UK Tourism Survey produced some very interesting figures for Wales in respect of visitor spend:- Short Breaks (3 nights or less) were down 13 per cent; four Nights to one week breaks – Up 24 per cent; stays of more than a week – up a massive 61 per cent. Economic Development and Transport Minister Andrew Davies pledged his commitment to continue to consider the possibilities of providing intra-Wales air services, especially between the North and South. INDICATIONS FROM the Welsh Assembly Government were that tourism in Wales was likely to receive comparable funding for the current year. The Alliance was first in line to defend the industry’s share and several approaches were made to the EDT Minister, Andrew Davies. No official figures were available but it was believed a sum in excess of £40m may be made available – a far cry from figures floated in the media earlier in the year.
A meeting of the Chairs/Chief Executives of The Tourism Forums, Confederations and Alliances of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland took place in London. Alliance Executive members pressed the issue of increased premiums for Public Liability Insurance (especially for activity providers) with the Assembly’s Minister for Economic Development and Transport, Andrew Davies.
Some 72 out of 78 beaches in Wales met the EU’s strictest standards of water quality in their 2003 annual survey. A further five beaches passed the minimum standards and there were problems at only one beach – Llangrannog.
© Wales Tourist Board
EDT Minister Andrew Davies, told the Alliance of his plans for a Bill to be put through the House of Commons that would drastically increase the powers of the Assembly with regards to transport issues. The First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, announced the Assembly would be taking in-house the WTB, along with WDA and Elwa. WTA Chairman, Julian Burrell received assurances from EDT Minister Andrew Davies, that resources, business development services and marketing support for the tourism industry in Wales would remain unaffected. “These are radical proposals and there will be much to discuss around the day-to-day impact on tourism, “ said Mr Burrell. “We will tell the Minister that we want to play a leading role in the decision making process alongside the National Assembly in the new set-up.” The next day WTA issued a press release stating it would seek a day-to-day advisory role within any new National Assembly structures for servicing and supporting the Tourism industry in Wales. “It is vital in the absence of a formal Assembly-Sponsored Public Body representation for tourism in April 2006, that the industry is ready to take on a direct role in political and practical developments,” said Mr Burrell. “Over the next few months we will meet Andrew Davies, the Minister for Economic Development & Transport, and speak to the industry about seeking to create a changeover culture that will work towards a much wider industry involvement in April 2006,” he said.
Wales’ blue flag beaches made the news in 2004
EDT MINISTER ANDREW DAVIES asked the Wales Tourism Alliance to play a central role in the coming months to help the Welsh Assembly Government develop the transitional and post-quango protocols for tourism support.
“The WTA is the key external tourism organisation,” he said. “The Assembly Government will rely on the Alliance to keep us in touch with industry views and opinion during this period of change. People who stay in caravan holiday homes contribute some £200m to the Welsh economy – about 17% of all holiday spending – according to the findings of an independent study.
EDT MINISTER ANDREW DAVIES told WTA members of Assembly plans for Tourism and industry support and stressed the important role to be played by the Alliance in the process.
He said the changes would give effect to improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness with which economic development is promoted in Wales and that tourism would continue to play a key role. Tourism would be a prominent feature in the new merged organisation, he would ensure the tourism marketing campaigns run by the WTB over the last few years would continue to be run with a sharp edge, and the new merged organisation would have a clear commercial focus.
WTB announced the appointment of Wieden & Kennedy to handle their UK advertising campaign over the next four years. The WTA became members of the National Assembly’s Tobacco Smoke Advisory Group – with the first meeting of the group planned for early November.
It’s All Go At WASCO! By Howard Jenkins, WASCO THE WALES ASSOCIATION of Self Catering Operators has had a busy year protecting and promoting the interests of its members in the ever popular cottage holidays sector.
Some of the issues which WASCO has been dealing with, on behalf of its members, over the last year, include:Harmonisation of the grading systems with Scotland and England. WASCO has made a significant contribution to the practical feasible aspects of a harmonised scheme, as operators in the other home countries do not appear to have been consulted to the same degree. In these negotiations, WASCO has been instrumental in attempting to safeguard the interests of those operators who provide access for the less mobile and those with ‘green’ credentials or heritage buildings. Business Rating Valuation Earlier in the year WASCO and WTA were able to enter into a beneficial dialogue with the Valuation Office Agency, in connection with demands for information required for the revised rating list. Collection of statistical information regarding the self catering sector. Discussions have been started with WTB regarding perceived shortcomings of the present system. It is hoped that a more meaningful system being proposed by WASCO will be adopted for the next season. Broadband BT is claiming that over 95% of subscribers will have access to Broadband by mid 2005. Unfortunately, the geographic area covered is significantly smaller. WASCO has taken a lead in drawing attention to this situation and in requesting a solution to this inequality of opportunity. Houses in Multiple Occupancy Certain local authorities appear to have placed their own interpretation on what constitutes such a property, by including self catering apartments, which previously had not been designated as such. WASCO is actively working to remedy the situation. Grant Aid Wasco supports the principle that support should be given reflecting the contribution to the community and economy rather than the number of direct employees.
YOUR WTA CONTACTS Antur Cymru 01348 840763 email@example.com Antur Cymru is the umbrella organisation representing outdoors education, recreation, and tourism in Wales. It provides a critical forum for the exchange of views and development of supportive responses and initiatives regarding this. Association of Wales Agents 01492 582492 firstname.lastname@example.org AWA represents a large number of self-catering operators, many with just one farmhouse or cottage and others with larger complexes. It provides better representation for all Agents large and small. British Holiday & Home Parks Association 01452 – 526911 email@example.com www.bhhpa.org.uk BH&HPA is the representative trade body for the parks industry in the United Kingdom British Hospitality Association 0207 404 7744 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bha.org.uk The BHA is the national association representing the hotel, restaurant and catering industry Farmstay UK 024 7669 6909 email@example.com www.farmstayuk.co.uk Farmstay UK is a farmer owned consortium aiming to promote the concept of farm tourism in the UK. Federation of Small Businesses 029 2052 1230 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fsb.org.uk FSB is a lobbying and campaigning business organisation that ensures the voice of the small business proprietor is heard. Forum for Small Serviced Accommodation Operators in Wales 01446 774451 email@example.com The forum is a national tourism consultative group for the B & B, guesthouse and small hotel sector with 10 bedrooms or less. Mid Wales Tourism 01654 702653 firstname.lastname@example.org www.visitmidwales.co.uk MWT is the principal deliverer of support for the tourism economy of Mid Wales and represents tourism interests at local, regional and national levels North Wales Tourism 01492 531731 email@example.com www.nwt.co.uk NWT represents 1300 private sector and public organisations within the north Wales tourism/ hospitality industry. It is the principal deliverer of support for the tourism industry on a partnership basis.
The National Caravan Council 01252 318251 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thecaravan.net NCC was originally a trade association for the UK Caravan Industry. It has grown to now represent the manufacturers, dealers, park operators and supplies and service providers throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Camping & Caravanning Club 024 7685 6797 email@example.com www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk The oldest camping and caravanning club in the world provides campsites and information on campsites, foreign travel opportunities and everything else the camper or caravanner needs. The Caravan Club 01342 326944 www.caravanclub.co.uk As Europe’s premier touring organisation, the Caravan Club represents the interests of over 850,000 touring carvanners, motor caravanners and trailer tent owners. The Club operates the largest, privately owned network of quality sites in the UK, and is well represented throughout Wales, with eighteen sites and 320 Certificated locations (smaller 5-pitch sites). The Youth Hostel Association 029 2039 6766 firstname.lastname@example.org www.yha.org.uk YHA offers affordable accommodation at 36 Youth Hostels across Wales, most located in the National Parks of Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons and the Pembrokeshire Coast. Tourism Associations In South West Wales 01267 290455 email@example.com The four Tourism Associations of west Wales provide the local tourism and hospitality industry with organisations which own, direct and participate in the partnership delivery of local, regional and national strategies for tourism. Tourism Training Forum For Wales 029 2049 5174 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ttfw.org.uk TTFW promotes and guides education and training in the tourism industry. Wales Association of Self-Catering Operators 08701 283152 email@example.com www.walescottages.co.uk Acting as a voice for self catering in Wales. WASCO’s membership comprises of one cottage operators to large agencies operating throughout the country. Wales Official Tourist Guides Association 01633 774796 firstname.lastname@example.org WOTGA promotes and represents the interests of qualified self-employed tour guides in Wales. Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions 01654 711228 email@example.com WAVA supports and represents visitor attraction operators. It provides networking opportunities for operators to discuss problems and share experience.
WTA CONFERENCE SPECIAL
The Children's Hospice in Wales
Yr Hosbis i Blant yng Nghymru
Tˆy Hafan is the only children’s hospice in Wales and is located at Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan. It provides respite and end-of-life care, both in the hospice and at home, to children who suffer from conditions which mean that they will die before they reach adulthood. Tˆy Hafan is dedicated to providing love, care and support for the whole family, with the emphasis on fun, hope and friendship. Opened in January 1999 and built and equipped by public donations at a cost of £3 million, Tˆy Hafan has to raise £2 million each year to maintain this desperately needed service which is unique in Wales, and completely free of charge to the families that use it. For further information and details of our fundraising events, please contact the Appeals Office on:
01446 739993 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at:
www.tyhafan.org Registered Charity Number: 1047912
We work hard to get to know your business Commercial
High Quality Staff
Regular Feedback & Evaluation
Temporary and Permanent
20 years Experience of Local Markets
Club Links Boost Nature Business By Fiona Bewers, The Caravan Club CARAVAN SITES ARE
often a haven for birdwatchers, especially in rural Wales, so the newly-forged alliance between the Caravan Club and the RSPB will be welcome news to nature lovers everywhere.
The Caravan Club is well represented throughout Wales, with eighteen sites and 320 Certificated Locations, or CLs (smaller 5Officially launched in September, the pitch sites). These sites offer alliance means that interested Caravan Club accommodation to visitors in a variety of members can take full advantage of access stunning locations, developed in sympathy to RSPB reserves, as well as guided walks with the beautiful Welsh landscape, and and nature talks. with the co-operation of local authorities who recognise their value The Caravan Club One of the many perfect to the local community. Club sites to take advantage is well represented The Caravan Club of the project is at Gwern-yBwlch in Mid Wales, with an continues to invest in its throughout Wales, on-site bird hide, and sites network in Wales. feeding stations near every One of the Club’s Golden with 18 sites and pitch. With immediate Jubilee sites – the £1.1 access to the Fford Glyndwr million plus development 320 Certificated footpath and a choice of at Pembrey Country Park, excellent walks, the site Llanelli – was transformed Locations caters for those who want to from a cleared derelict appreciate the splendours munitions factory into a of Mid Wales. fully landscaped Caravan Club Site with the usual top quality facilities. As Europe’s premier touring organisation, representing 850,000 caravanners, motor The Club is actively encouraging more caravanners and trailer tenters in the UK, landowners to consider running a The Caravan Club is a major player in the Certificated Location to ensure its members tourism sector. Across Wales we estimate have access to as wide a choice as possible Club members spend at least £8.5 million of locations for short and long breaks in all every year whilst caravanning – on local parts of this beautiful country. Pembrey Country Park, Llanelli
WAG Draws On WTA Over Burning Issue THE WELSH ASSEMBLY Government has established a committee on Smoking in Public Places, consisting of five AMs and chaired by Val Lloyd. Its terms of reference are: i) Consider current evidence on relevant issues, including the health risks of environmental tobacco smoke and the economic impact of restrictions on smoking in public places; ii) Review developments in the UK and Ireland relating to the introduction of restrictions on smoking in public places (including the debate on Baroness Finlay’s and Lord Faulkner’s Private Member’s Bills, the response to the UK Government consultation on devolving powers to local authorities to introduce smoking bans at work and in public places, the outcome of the Scottish Executive consultation on smoking in public places, and the experience of implementing the workplace smoking ban in Ireland); iii) Consider the experiences in other countries where a ban has been introduced; and iv) Report to the Assembly by 25 May 2005 on its conclusions. As part of a public consultation process, the WTA (along with numerous other organisations) has been asked to give evidence to the committee on the following issues:1. The health risks of environmental tobacco smoke; 2. The economic impact of restrictions on smoking in public places;
© Wales Tourist Board
3. The impact of a ban in reducing the prevalence of smoking, ie whether a ban would encourage people to give up smoking or not to take it up; 4. The effectiveness of extractor fans and other ventilation equipment to remove tobacco fumes from the atmosphere; 5. Human rights arguments in respect of smokers and non-smokers; 6. Enforcement.
Mind Your Body Language! By Billy Dixon, Personal Marketing Consultant and a guest speaker at this year’s conference WE THE PUBLIC are a fickle lot, we are not loyal, expect everything now, and demand standards that we would not expect in our own homes. Yet our needs are all the same, we all want to be praised, reassured and have a sense of belonging. If your business is people based it is important to serve praise, reassurance and belonging in liberal doses. How this is done is not a matter of some black art but one of common sense. Much of business success is about creating the correct perceptions. Does your car park and main entrance reassure the customer or make them withdraw and become defensive? Are clients made to feel welcome? Are staff trained to dress and act appropriately? Recently I was asked to speak at a conference, which was to be held at a 5 star hotel. When I arrived I parked my car in a well-lit and signed car park, walked through the manicured gardens to the main entrance. An elderly gentleman in uniform greeted me in a manner that was both courteous and friendly. He opened the door and with a smile guided me through to reception. I was impressed, flattered almost, however these feelings were to be short lived.
“Have you got a reservation sir?” asked the well-dressed young woman behind reception. “No I am speaking at a conference” I replied. “What group?” she asked. I gave her the name of the organisation and she told me where the hall was. At no time during this short conservation did this young woman make eye contact with me, in fact she seemed to be preoccupied with a piece of paper on her desk. I walked to the conference hall with a bruised ego. By the simple lack of eye contact that young woman had failed to praise, reassure and make me feel wanted. There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with people, it is not a mystery and the answer is universal. The majority of people will reflect the attitudes, impressions and behaviour that they receive from others as well as the environment that they find themselves in. Organisations whose success depends on dealing with people need to understand that what they project is what they will get back. Knowing what to project and how to project it is the core to business success.
Billy Dixon at last year’s WTA Conference
There are many who will hype the importance of the image of a business in visual terms such as logos, colours, uniforms and such like. There is no doubt that these are important but on their own, will not make a business successful. Image projection should always examine the psychological needs and expectations of people and then strive to serve these. The next time you shop on the high street, go for a meal or attend a function ask yourself, “How did I feel?” and “What made me feel like that?” Whatever the answer, you will have just experienced “Image Projection”.
Parks Boost Welsh Economy By Ros Pritchard Director General, British Holiday and Home Parks Association PEOPLE WHO STAY at caravan holiday homes contribute some £200m to the Welsh economy – about 17 per cent of all holiday spending – according to the findings of a new independent study. Commissioned jointly by the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) and the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA), the study reveals the importance of Wales’ 200-plus holiday parks to holiday spending, supporting local employment, and helping to keep the visitors coming. The study, which excluded those who use touring caravans and tents, found that each privately-owned holiday caravan produces annual spending in the local economy of more than £5,400. However, this figure shoots up to almost £15,500 for caravans that are rented on a weekly or fortnightly basis – mainly because these holidaymakers spend more freely on entertaining and wining and dining.
As to the appeal of caravan holiday homes, many of the hundreds of holidaymakers interviewed in the study cited the luxury standards of the accommodation. Features such as central heating, double …each privately-owned glazing, fully-fitted kitchens and ample space holiday caravan produces for all are helping to keep holidaymakers loyal.
annual spending in the local economy of more than £5,400.
Researchers found that almost every park could point to at least one local shop or business that relied on park visitors for a substantial percentage of its trade.
On the employment front, the study shows that each park sustains around 20 jobs in the low season – and just over 40 jobs during the busier parts of the year. The numbers rise even further when secondary employment – such as in businesses serving park customers – is taken into account.
Ros Pritchard, Director General of BH&HPA says, “Destination is the first consideration for most holidaymakers, but very quickly after that comes accommodation to match their holiday lifestyle. Wales clearly ticks all the right boxes for many different experiences, and holiday parks remain the chosen base from which to enjoy them,” she said.
YHA’s Offa – Tourists Just Can’t Refuse By Alison Crawshaw, YHA Wales THE YHA-BACKED Offa’s Dyke project aims to increase tourism to Wales by raising awareness of the countryside and visitor activities through which the path passes.
© Wales Tourist Board
At the beginning of 2004 YHA began a joint funded project with the Countryside Agency and the WTB through the ADFYWIO fund,
which is concentrated on the Offa’s Dyke path.
YHA does not have existing accommodation.
The aim of the project is to increase the number of tourists who use the path and come to the area, by marketing a chain of existing B&B/ Guesthouse accommodation and developing the product through added value packages.
It is intended that up to 15 B&B/Guesthouses, which are based along the Offa’s Dyke, will be involved in the project and the supporting marketing and PR will aim at the beginning of the 2005 season. It is planned that short breaks and packages will be developed using the accommodation bases which, along with the marketing, will increase tourists to the area while also increasing business in the B&Bs.
The operators become involved in the YHA Enterprise scheme. It offers them the chance to become ‘badged’ members of the YHA network and to take advantage of the YHA’s national and international marketing channels. The YHA is also able to offer support and advice, based on years of experience and specialised knowledge. Private operators and the YHA become partners – YHA sells the beds and the B&B’s provide beds in areas where the
Hawthorn Hill, Offa’s Dyke
If you require any further information on the Offa’s Dyke Project please contact Alison Crawshaw on 01874 636671 or email@example.com. If you would like to know more about YHA Enterprise please contact Martin Trouse on 01629 592679 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Antur Cymru Expands By Brian Davies, Chairman, Antur Cymru
As an organisation we will continue to ensure that we draw upon the widest possible representation so that we can continue to provide relevant representation on behalf of the activity tourism sector at a national level. A busy year saw Antur Cymru making representations to government on a number of issues. For example, The proposed HSE Working at Heights Directive would mean significant (some would say idiotic) changes to the manner in which rope-related activity would be conducted in future. In tandem with other organisations Antur Cymru made clear its opposition to the proposed changes and received assurances that the successful and safe practices employed by activity professionals for many years would not be set aside.
AC made representation to the Welsh Assembly Government regarding its failure to issue advice to schools on the safe conduct of schools visits. In addition AC lamented the decision not to set up a specialist education fund for outdoor education, contrary to that enjoyed by England’s schools. We have written to WAG seeking assurances that any future outbreak of foot and mouth disease would be dealt with in a more responsible fashion. Closing the countryside was itself a disaster last time around. It is worrying that we have not received a response! We have lent our support for the establishment of a University for the Outdoors and are pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government, and the Wales Tourist Board have increased their interest in the outdoor activities sector. We have cautioned that the implementation of WAG’s Climbing Higher Strategy needs careful consideration in relation to management of both natural resources and integration with local communities. AC has been in discussion with the Wales Tourist Board regarding changes to the
© Wales Tourist Board
ANTUR CYMRU HAS taken the decision to broaden its membership base to embrace regional clusters of activity providers, working primarily in the private sector. The decision was taken in order to redress the balance of membership, which hitherto had a significant bias to the public and voluntary sectors. At the same time we decided to become full members of the WTA.
Board’s accreditation scheme – we are pleased that the Board now has a system in place for recognising schemes run by National Governing bodies and others. We continue to work with similar organisations in England and Scotland and are advising in the establishment of a pan UK organisation to replace the HSE’s now abolished Adventure Activities Industry Advisory Committee.
Grants To Support Your Business BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS are a vital tool for furthering the expansion and quality of trading in Wales. Their value can be seen in the hundreds of tourism businesses that have undergone improvements across the whole of Wales in recent years. WTB has allocated £14.9m against 286 individual projects guaranteeing a total of £63.5m investment (as at 31st March 2004). This has prompted £35m private sector investment and created or sustained 1042 full time equivalent jobs. Early evaluation reports that turnover in the businesses assisted has gone up on average by 37% post investment. Section Four Grants have probably done more to raise the level of quality in Wales than any other measure. Without grant aid, hotels would find it more difficult to raise the levels of their grading and to retain our competitive edge. Wales Tourism Alliance strongly supports the continuation of
The WTB’s Business Support Team at the WTA Conference 2003
business development grants for tourism and believes Section Four grants should be available to all levels of graded premises to fulfil a requirement by tourists for differing price structures. With Wales now enjoying higher employment levels, WTA believes it is important to move the emphasis on award criteria from job creation to job retention. For specific information and advice on developing and marketing your tourism business contact WTB’s Business Support team on 029 2047 5030 or visit www.wtbonline.gov.uk.
UK Search For Standards Bearing Fruit By Chris Coleman, Wales Tourist Board THE QUEST TO SECURE common standards for the rating of accommodation across England, Scotland and Wales – that’s the brief for the Quality Review Group (QRG), WTB has been working with Visit Britain, Visit Scotland, the AA and RAC and Chairman Alan Britten on QRG. Julian Burrell, WTA Chair, is a member of the Quality Review Group. Discussions commenced in earnest during 2003 and significant progress has been made. The caravan sector already has a common, UK-wide parks grading scheme so discussions focused on three sectors: self catering cottages, hostel style accommodation and serviced accommodation. The tourist boards have been partners in reviewing and agreeing schemes for all three sectors; the AA and RAC have only been partners in discussions regarding the rating of serviced accommodation. In examining each sector, a common approach has been taken: Stage 1 Draft common criteria agreed by officers; Stage 2 Consumer testing; Stage 3 Refinement in the light of consumer response; Stage 4 Trade consultation; Stage 5 Refinement of criteria in the light of trade response; Stage 6 Decision to adopt revised common standards. The following table illustrates the stage reached in each of the sectors. Stage Sector 1 2 3 4 5 6 Self Catering Complete Complete Complete Complete Complete Oct 04 Hostels Complete Complete Oct 04 Dec/Jan 05 Jan/Feb 05 Mar 05 Serviced Complete Complete Complete Nov 04 Dec/Jan 05 Feb 05
Many months before draft grading scheme proposals were put together the Board, working through the Alliance, facilitated discussion with representatives of each accommodation sector. Focus groups were established for each of the self catering, serviced and hostels sectors. Proposals for harmonising the self catering scheme are most advanced and an announcement from the Board is imminent. The self catering focus group has met with the Board on a number of occasions and has been instrumental in helping the Board negotiate “sensible” changes to the grading scheme with its colleagues in Scotland and England. We shall be following a similar process of discussion for serviced accommodation and hostels. The Board will be producing a special edition of its Trade Talk magazine that will seek industry opinion on the draft changes to the grading scheme for hotels and guesthouses. Industry consultation and discussion on hostels’ grading are likely to be conducted during December or January 2005. Deliberations on grading hotels, guesthouses and hostels are expected to have ended by February 2005. WTB has always maintained that 2008 would be the earliest that it would be in a position to carry the new scheme in its publications to allow the industry time to adjust. The Board is coming under some external pressure to start sooner. WTB will be facilitating a meeting in December to examine the issues surrounding implementation of the new revised schemes. The WTA will be fully involved.
WTA CONFERENCE SPECIAL
Dig Deep for Tˆ y Hafan EVERY YEAR,
as part of WTA’s annual conference, we hold a charity auction. Last year WTA delegates raised nearly £3,000 for the chosen charity - Tˆy Gobaith/Hope House, in Conwy, which provides respite, palliative
care and terminal nursing for life-limited children. Prizes at the auction ranged from weekend breaks to days out. “We had a great response from delegates last year and we were extremely pleased to present the proceeds to a very worthy cause in Tˆy Gobaith.”, said WTA Chairman Julian Burrell. “This year we are in South Wales and I am delighted to announce that our charity auction proceeds will be going to Tˆy Hafan, the Children’s Hospice in Wales,” he said. “The Hospice was opened in January 1999 to provide help and support for over 300 families, living within Wales, where one or more of the children suffer from a lifelimiting illness.
Guest auctioneer Jonathan Jones, WTB Chief Executive, at last year’s WTA Conference
If members wish to make further contributions to either charity, the contact details are as follows:
“As this service is completely free to all the families that use Tˆy Hafan, it now costs over £2 million every year to operate and I am hoping that once again, delegates will help make the auction night a real success for this years chosen charity - Tˆy Hafan,” said Mr Burrell.
Tˆy Hafan - The Children’s Hospice in Wales Appeal Office, Hamard House, Cardiff Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, CF63 2BE Tel: +44 (0)1446 739993 Fax: +44 (0)1446 739994 www.tyhafan.org Email: email@example.com Tˆy Gobaith - Hope House Head Office Nant Lane Morda, Near Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 9BX Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fundraising Tel: 01691 671671
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heritage specialists MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE HERITAGE ON YOUR DOORSTEP?
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WTA CONFERENCE SPECIAL
Big Country A Great Success OVER 90% OF VISITORS to Wales are from the UK, therefore tackling such a big and important market calls for a big marketing campaign – which is where Wales – The Big Country campaign came into play. The Big Country award-winning UK marketing campaign, was launched in key regions and the adverts have been aired in Granada, Midlands, Wales and West, London and throughout the UK on satellite TV in 2001, and has been our biggest-ever assault on the UK market. Objective 1 funding and increased funding from the Welsh Assembly Government meant that the campaign activity was more prolific than ever before, allowing for greater penetration of the market. As well as gaining recognition among marketing professionals, the real result is the fact that the Big Country campaign has reaped rewards for the tourism industry in Wales. Total activity throughout 2003 – 2004 resulted in over 417,000 enquiries, which led to over 117, 000 trips and a total spend of £89 million, which was directly attributable to the campaign.
By Roger Pride, Marketing Director WTB
Unprompted recall levels of adverts (where responders remember seeing a TV advert without prompting) hit a high of 27% during June 2003; this level is higher than any other destination advertising on UK TV. The £10 million three-year campaign has challenged visitors’ perceptions of Wales and has shown Wales as an active and challenging destination with a big future. It has aimed to capture the bigness of spirit and emotion that is inspired by the Welsh people and the fabulous landscape.
New Des Res And ClubRez Lift CCC By Peter Frost, Director of Communications,The Camping and Caravanning Club ONE OF THE MOST
exciting years in the Camping and Caravanning Club’s one hundred and four year history – that was 2004.
fifty of the British population. This total, a record in the Club’s history, comes as a result of growing membership by ten per cent year on year over the last three years – quite a remarkable achievement.
In May, the Club moved into a new purpose-built headquarters, on the edge of Warwick University Campus, and just a few hundred yards from the offices it has occupied for more than a decade.
One of the first developments in the new building will be the introduction of ClubRez, a real-time computer campsite booking system that is due to go live on 1 November 2004. This will offer Club members the chance to book their site by Internet, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and will also enable members to book by telephone, fax., post or direct on site if, for instance, they want to move on to another Club site.
The new building tripled the space available to The Club, and the space provided by the six-and-a-half million pounds green-field investment will enable the Club to keep pace with its rapid growth. Shortly after moving to the new headquarters, the Club membership hit four hundred thousand – more than one in every one hundred and
Administered from a new contact centre in the new headquarters, bookings can be made at any time, by directly contacting Holiday Site Managers on site and, if no-one is available on site at any particular time, their call will be automatically transferred to the central contact centre where it will be registered on the ClubRez system. When the Holiday Site Manager returns to his or her desk, the booking will be live on their computer too. The Club’s Welsh sites at Bala, Bangor-on-Dee, Cardigan Bay, Llanystumdwy, Rhandirmwyn and St David’s will be amongst the sites using the new system. The ClubRez system is also key to another important development the Club has recently announced: A franchising scheme, enabling individuals to own a campsite, but run it as part of the Club’s nationwide network of nearly one hundred sites. Already, two couples have each purchased a site, and these will be opening as Camping and Caravanning Club sites for next season. The Club believes it is uniquely placed to offer the experience and expertise necessary to run a site to very high standards. The Club acquired its first site in 1913, and is still running that site successfully today.
The Club staff outside the new headquarters
Camping and Caravanning Club Chairman, David Batty, told Twristiaeth: “Our investment in our new headquarters and many new initiatives demonstrate our commitment to providing our evergrowing membership with the best that is available in the world of camping and caravanning”.
It’s Business As Usual By Philip Evans, Chairman, Wales Tourist Board I AM PLEASED to have been able to arrange my schedule to, quite literally, hit the tarmac back in the UK from visiting seven European competitors and come directly to your third annual conference. There are always challenging times for tourism in Wales, and this will never change as long as operators in this country want to compete in the global market and create ‘world class’ products that will stand head and shoulders above those seeking to erode our domestic and international markets. If we closely analyse our most aggressive and successful competitors, you will find a broad platform of support and leadership driving their joint ambitions. This platform comprises a modern and efficient tourist board coupled with an industry intellect that comes freely from the top of the mountain which benefits all altitudes.
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Government support, that seriously recognises the influence that our exciting industry has on, not only the economy of their nations, but the ripple effect that the tangential ‘tourism pound’ has on the whole community, completes the triangle. For the immediate future, however, it’s business as usual at the Wales Tourist Board. We will continue to provide tourism businesses with the same service, including business support, grant allocation, research, communications and marketing. For individual businesses, this means that they will continue to deal with the same people, in the same way - in short, nothing should change in the immediate future. I hope we have a successful conference, and I look forward to working with you to secure a successful future for Wales tourism.
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Whodoiask? – TTFW’s Web-Based “Wow” By Diana James, Tourism Training Forum For Wales WANT TO KNOW HOW to put the “wow” factor into your tourism business, but don’t know who to ask? Look no further than Whodoiask.com – a new web-based resource launched by the Tourism Training Forum for Wales. It’s packed with easy-to-understand information on everything from establishing a small tourism business through to employment law, salaries and pensions and how to add that elusive “wow” element to your enterprise. The extensive site, which is free and accessible to all, has been designed in
conjunction with Assured Quality Services and UWIC and is genuinely a fantastic resource for the established operator or those who are new to the business. At this year’s WTA conference the Forum will be hosting an afternoon long session that seeks to raise awareness of the untapped potential that may be able to address one of the industry’s key needs – staff recruitment. Every year tourism businesses struggle to fill key posts, and not just at busier times. However many others have been able to find solutions and we would like to share their experiences industry wide. The Forum will also be arguing that staff recruitment is only half the problem – retainment is another issue altogether!
Leading a session at last year’s WTA Conference is, from left to right, Jenny Evans, Alison Lea-Wilson from the Anglesey Sea Zoo, Diana James and John Walsh Heron of Tourism Training Forum for Wales.
The Forum has been working with businesses large and small from across Wales who have been able to address the problem of retaining their best staff. There are many examples of businesses that
have benefited from schemes which reward their staff through training & skills development and other means. Many of these enterprises have grown as a result of innovative practices which put employees’ welfare at the heart of their business. Customers have enjoyed better service and employees have taken greater pride in their role and appreciate the opportunities to develop which are presented to them. Success Through Your People is another valuable asset for tourism businesses. Available in hard copy and on CD-rom this “toolkit” aims to provide tourism operators, large and small, with advice, support and information. Designed for businesses by businesses in conjunction with Trinity College, Carmarthen, the toolkit demonstrates how others have succeeded in surmounting problems and sought solutions. It offers advice on how to get the best out of your staff and your business. A host of downloadable and adaptable proformas allow users to design their own job descriptions, contracts, advertisements etc. and covers all areas including health & safety and employment law. Again the toolkit is free and available to all. The Welsh language toolkit, which was this year launched by Assembly Minister Jane Davidson AM, is also available for free. For more information on all the above contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 029 2049 5174 or visit www.ttfw.org.uk.
Agents Unite To Make The Grade ASSOCIATION MEMBERS have been particularly active in 2004 working with WTB and WASCO on the proposals for harmonisation of grading schemes between Wales, Scotland and England. As this process draws to its conclusion, we feel that the needs of many operators have been well represented and a workable scheme should result. The Association of Wales Agents became members of the Wales Tourism Alliance to facilitate communication between the Agents themselves, the WTB and WTA. The Association includes virtually all the Wales-based Agencies (plus one just over the border!) and collectively its members market in the region of 2500 self-catering units. We represent a very large number of tourism
operators, many with just the one farmhouse or cottage, others with larger complexes. Wales Agencies meet bi-annually prior to meetings with Wales Tourist Board, and liaise together in between as the need arises. The formation of the Association will provide better representation not just for the Agents themselves but also for the individual operators. Barbara Griffiths of North Wales Holiday Cottages and Farmhouses represents the Association at WTA meetings and Gwen Thomas of Snowdonia Tourist Services provides the secretariat. Barbara can be contacted at email@example.com
© Wales Tourist Board
By Barbara Griffiths, Association Of Wales Agents
A Report From The National Caravan Council THE NATIONAL CARAVAN COUNCIL is lobbying politicians in the UK and Europe against proposals to include an additional test and training for certain categories of towed vehicles before they can acquire a European Driving Licence. The NCC believes the proposal – the Driving Licence Directive – would form a barrier to new entrants to caravanning, so it is using its powerful voice to represent the views of the industry to MPs and MEPs. With a membership of more than 500, the National Caravan Council (NCC) is an active, dynamic trade association for the UK caravan industry. The NCC represents parks, manufacturers, dealers, and suppliers of services. Its mission is to continually improve industry standards of technical and commercial excellence. So it is delighted to announce that caravanning is a definite UK success story, with the industry, which had one of its best ever years, now worth in excess of £3 billion per annum, from product sales plus spend on UK caravan holidays. The NCC continues, particularly through its Certification Scheme, to work towards better, safer products for the consumer. It provides its
DDA: recommended procedures for accepting bookings As a result of the Disability Discrimination Act, which finally came into force on the 1 October, the British Hospitality Association is advising hoteliers that they would be well advised to adopt the following procedures when accepting bookings. members with advice on a number of matters, including safety and legal issues, and technical information. It has published a number of ‘best practice’ leaflets, in particular The Misuse of Caravan Holiday Homes, a joint industry document aimed at countering the growing problem of people taking up residence in holiday caravans. The Start Caravanning campaign, on which the NCC worked closely with the two consumer clubs, the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club, continued to be promoted, with a new Getaway brochure, given away free to the public at exhibitions. It aims to introduce caravanning to new markets, highlighting freedom, value and choice. The NCC also runs a consumer-facing website www.thecaravan.net, featuring a host of helpful information including where to stay, and how to choose a caravan or park home As well as publishing Quality Touring Parks 2004, an annual listing of all Tourist Board inspected parks in the UK and Northern Ireland, the NCC is working with VisitBritain on the introduction of new National Accessible Standards for caravan parks and caravan holiday homes. The NCC has, via an industry working group, been active in reducing caravan crime. It continues to promote the C a r a v a n Registration and Identification Scheme (CRIS) for touring caravans, and is a member of the Home Office Leisure Sector Crime Reduction Action Team (LSCRAT).
Ensure that any agents and/or booking systems are familiar with the accessible features of your property and the language to use (see wording in next paragraph). When taking bookings by ‘phone, fax, email or letter, say: “PLEASE ADVISE US OF ANY ACCESS NEEDS THAT YOU HAVE IN ORDER THAT WE CAN PROVIDE APPROPRIATE SERVICE.” (This question may be explained, if challenged, as a request for practical information which will assist the business in providing appropriate service to every individual customer.) Repeat back to the guest the information they have given and note the requirements to ensure they are complied with when the guest arrives. Be honest about facilities and consider offering alternatives if full access is not available on site. Provide knowledgeable point of reference in the business, so that queries about facilities for disabled guests are answered accurately, not off the cuff. When the guest arrives, say: “WHEN BOOKING, YOU INFORMED US THAT YOU NEEDED AN ACCESSIBLE ___________. ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL WAYS THAT WE CAN HELP?”
Forum Formed For Small Serviced Sector © Wales Tourist Board
A NEW FORUM
to service the needs of small guest houses and hotels in Wales was launched this summer. The Small Serviced Sector Forum is a national tourism consultative group for the B & B, guest house and small hotel sector with 10 bedrooms or less. Membership of the forum consists of trade representatives from all four regions of Wales, WTA Chairman Julian Burrell and Chris Coleman, WTB Head of Quality Assurance in attendance. One of the first tasks of the group has been to consider the WTB grading harmonisation proposals for this sector. Following wider consultation with the industry, the group will work closely with WTB to ensure that proposed new standards and the timetable for implementation are both practicable and achievable. In addition to grading harmonisation, the group has considered a wide variety of issues such as Statutory Registration, the Disability Discrimination Act, and the possible closure of a number of Tourist Information Centres. The Chair is June Jenkins – 01446 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Branding Wales – The Key To Success By Ben Cottam, Welsh Policy Development Officer, Federation of Small Businesses. THE TOURISM SECTOR
in Wales is diverse and dynamic – about that there can be little doubt. How else would it have survived catastrophic events such as foot and mouth and the impact of the New York terrorist attacks on tourist numbers? However, despite these relatively short-term impacts, there is a real need to take a long-term view to the selling of Wales as a ‘product’. This is key not only to tourism as a sector, but to all aspects of economic development in Wales.
relatively few large operators means that the industry as a whole has a weak marketing profile. What is needed is greater clarification of who is responsible for what within the industry, improved lines of communication between all relevant bodies and greater co-operation to cancel out some of the confusion that exists within the sector.
There has been criticism in recent years of a lack of co-ordination between all relevant bodies within the tourism sector, the effective use of available resources and duplication in too many areas. As a result, there has been a failure in part, to effectively brand and market Wales effectively as a tourist destination.
What is becoming abundantly clear is that Wales does indeed have the potential of a strong cultural brand. We need to better recognise that, if a high quality tourism industry is to be truly sustainable in Wales, and if it is to be compatible with the aspirations of the Welsh people, it is essential that cultural aspects are built upon. With the increasing coordination of the sector led by the WTA, there is now a golden opportunity to exploit this brand.
The disparate and small-scale nature of the industry is a problem in itself with respect to effective marketing. The presence of
We have a landscape and history that undoubtedly captures the hearts and imagination of not only tourists, but other visitors to our
shores, evidenced by the ever increasing use of Welsh locations for large Hollywood productions, most recently in Brecon and on Anglesey, for example. The development of this cultural brand needs to be matched by proper support for the development of services and infrastructure in Wales. Members of the FSB in Wales, for example, are currently engaged in lobbying for a much needed airport for the north of the country on Anglesey, which if realised, could have the potential to significantly increase the numbers of visitors to Wales and the economic benefit that inevitably comes with that. However, it is only through more consultation with the small business community – which makes up such a large percentage of the tourism industry in Wales – will the much needed reevaluation of Welsh culture lead to the formation of a stronger branding image for Wales and the enhancement of that dynamism among Welsh tourism businesses.
Glossy New Image For Farm Stay In Wales FARM STAY UK will launch an exciting new image for the Welsh sector next year, in recognition of the significant role Wales plays in raising the profile of farm tourism in the UK. A glossy new brochure, “Stay on a Farm in Wales”, will replace the current Wales Farm Holidays publication. This will be complemented by an equally exciting new website, strongly linked to the highly successful national site. Since the disasters of foot and mouth, rural tourism has gone from strength to strength and Farm Stay UK has every confidence for the future. However, the organisation believes that the image of the bed and breakfast industry throughout the UK continues to be dragged down by a reputation for inconsistent and poor quality. Not surprisingly, Farm Stay continues to be a strong advocate for the introduction of mandatory minimum entry standards for anyone selling accommodation or other tourism services. “Tourism throughout the UK must give greater priority to the importance of nurturing a reputation for providing value for money and quality if we are to see continuous and significant business growth as well as recapturing some of the outbound market losses of recent years,” says Nigel Embry, Chief Executive of Farm Stay UK
However, a major problem in terms of building the business continues to be that of seasonality says Mrs Ionwen Lewis, Farm Stay Director for Wales. “So we need to work ever harder to develop our reputation as an all year round industry and to promote Wales as a total destination for both holidaymakers and business travellers alike.” Farm Stay in Wales would like to see greater emphasis placed by the National Assembly for Wales on marketing and less on expanding the product range. “Quality not quantity must be the catchphrase for the future success of our vitally important sector of the industry,” says Mrs Lewis, who is extremely active in the promotion of both the farming and tourism industries in Wales. “Furthermore, a fully integrated, harmonised inspection scheme for the whole of the UK, based on minimum entry standards, would be a major asset in overseas marketing, helping allow the true strength of the Welsh rural image to be realised.” A prime example of what she promotes, Mrs Lewis is a renowned breeder of Welsh Blacks and Texel sheep, is vice president of the Women’s Farmers Union and chairman of its livestock committee, as well as having converted a range of traditional farm buildings into workshops and offices. So she is delighted to see that the massive investment in Cardiff over recent years has played an important role in raising the image of the Welsh product and creating greater realisation of how accessible the country is for visitors.
From right to left - Ionwen Lewis, Vice President of WFU and Farm Stay Director for Wales; Nigel Embry, Chief Executive of Farm Stay UK; and Gillian van der Meer, President WFU drawing the prize winning tickets for the Women’s Farmers Union 2004 grand raffle.
“Since England is the primary market, this message cannot be over emphasised and nor can the importance of a warm welcome. We must show the world that we really like visitors – not just their money! – and that we can offer them the widest possible variety of opportunities,” she says. “As a consequence, Farm Stay is anxious to see urban and rural tourism working more closely together to create greater overall recognition of the complementary roles played by both in developing international awareness of the huge range of exciting quality products available in this superb country.”
“Welcome” Makes Or Breaks Your Business NO MATTER HOW sophisticated your technology, it is people who make or break customers’ experience in the tourism industry, according to Welcome Host Wales. The organisation, which has trained more than 70,000 people in the sector since 1991, runs a range of courses that are all about setting standards and building confidence to deliver to all visitors to Wales. Getting things right for your customers is essential in today’s business climate and will give a competitive edge. A warm welcome backed up by quality service throughout the visitor experience has never been more important in the global marketplace. We now find that Betws-y-Coed competes with Barcelona or Tenby with Tenerife in the short stay market upon which so many Wales tourism operators rely. You have to respond to these marketplace challenges and Welcome Host, too, keeps abreast of industry developments by being sensitive
to your business and staffing needs when delivering training; continually reviewing and updating course content; adding to our cohort of trainers across Wales to bring specialist expertise into our team and most importantly, by responding to your customer service training needs. As information communications technology becomes part of everyday business, Welcome Host is here to remind you that no matter how sophisticated and efficient the systems available are, it is still your people that count. They will make or break a customer experience. Welcome Host Wales offers a range of workshops in customer service and disability awareness for service providers the length and breadth of Wales. Further information can be obtained from Welcome Host Wales on 01492 542302 or email email@example.com or visit www.welcome-host-wales.co.uk for training events in your area.
Attractions Upgrade After 20m Visit By Ian Rutherford, The Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions VISITOR
entertained and informed more than 20 million people last year, bringing in an estimated £79 million pounds to the Welsh economy.
Almost 40% of the 204 attractions which responded indicated that they had upgraded and improved their attraction during the year
The upbeat figures come in an in-depth WTB Research Department study, which responds to calls from the Wales Association of Visitor Attractions for a more detailed analysis of the performance of Welsh attractions than the traditional annual publication of attendance figures. Here, at last, was some hard evidence against which attraction operators could benchmark their own businesses. The survey – containing a wealth of information that all attraction operators should read – showed that the attraction sector has been performing well over the last couple of years. Attendances were up by 6% on 2002 and nearly 15% on 2001, indicating a full return to normal trading after the negative effects of FMD. The performance across the different types of attraction was more varied with theme parks showing zero growth in attendance in 2003 while the growth in nature based attractions was over 11%. This latter performance is, in part, attributable to the good weather in 2003 which made the country parks and other attractions in this sector more appealing. The seasonality of the sector is indicated by one third of all visits being made in July and August, although the South East region is less seasonal than the other three regions with 36% of visits in the third quarter of the year compared with 47% for all the other regions. Between them, the 256 attractions which responded to the survey attracted 13 million visitors in 2003. With 479 attractions identified by the survey organisers it would not be unreasonable to estimate that attractions in Wales entertained
and informed over 20 million visitors last year. The report also identifies the level of revenue earned from each attraction visitor. The average is £3.95, mainly earned from admissions and retail sales. This again hides significant variations by attraction sector with theme parks and preserved railways achieving over £7.70 per visitor while museums and galleries achieved £2.82. Significant regional variations are also highlighted with attractions in North Wales earning an average of £4.84 and attractions in the South East achieving £3.07. It should perhaps be borne in mind here that branches of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales are concentrated in the south east. These attractions have high attendance levels and do not charge for admission. But visitor attractions are not sleeping on their laurels. Almost 40% of the 204 attractions which responded to this part of the survey indicated that they had upgraded and improved their attraction during the year, spending between them around £6 million across 64 attractions. It has to be recognised that this level of investment has only been achieved thanks to the availability of Section 4 Grant Aid from the WTB and the support and advice that goes with it. A major concern of WAVA and its partners in the Wales Tourism Alliance is that this support should be retained at the same levels after the current reorganisation of the WTB functions, and that the Section 4 Grant should retain its valuable exemption from the State Aid rules ‘de minimis’ calculations. ‘Visits to Tourist Attractions 2003’ was produced by the Moffatt Centre for WTB and is available from WTB Research Department or it can be downloaded from the WTB Online web site.
Passport To Prosperity A report by Wales Official Tour Guides Association THE ‘PASSPORT TO WALES’
tours initiative has introduced more than £1m of group travel business to Wales since the Wales Official Tourist Guide Association launched it in 2003. Through ‘Passport to Wales’ WOTGA now represents Travel Trade products throughout Wales, at Group and Coach Travel exhibitions in the UK, as well as representing the industry on UK national trade bodies for these industry sectors. Groups coming to Wales benefit from the experience of having a Wales Official Tourist Guide with them on their visit. This enhances their understanding and enjoyment of Wales, and leads to increased return visits. Over 30% of this business was generated to take place in the period October to March, thereby
helping address seasonality issues. In feedback from participants undertaking ‘Passport to Wales’ tours, clients were asked what single word or phrase best described their guide for the day. All our members can feel proud that the top ten responses were: Excellent; Informative; Very Good; Friendly; Interesting; Knowledgeable; Enjoyable; Pleasant; Brilliant; Professional. We will not however be revealing the name of our member that was described by single individuals as: Attractive, Charming and Groovy! ‘Passport to Wales’ is currently being extended, in conjunction with Wales Tourist Board and the four Regional Tourism Partnerships, to cover all geographic areas
WOTGA member, Steve Griffin, representing Wales at the Dorchester Group Travel Fair
of Wales. WOTGA is also working hard to ensure prestigious Group Travel and Coach Industry events will be held in Wales in the near future.
Mid Wales Tourism Are Web Wonders By Val Hawkins MID WALES TOURISM is ahead of the game when it comes to providing the latest web marketing tools for its members. With a number of new websites launched during the year, MWT now announces plans to launch a ‘Mid Wales Active’ site, which will highlight the many activity providers and activity related events in the region, as well as a ‘Mid Wales for Groups’ site, catering for the group and coach market. Two new, up and running websites, which are already proving to be invaluable to visitors, are MidWalesEvents.co.uk and SouthernWalesEvents.co.uk. Both sites boast excellent search facilities so events can be displayed by area or date. MWT prides itself in making the most of new technology, bringing benefits to even the smallest of tourism businesses. Our marketing ‘flagship’ is our regional website www.visitmidwales.co.uk. Promoting the whole of Mid Wales, the website features hundreds of places to stay, things to do, places to eat, regional events and much much more. Accommodation businesses can include availability information and many properties are bookable online. Members can add a link to their own
website, show availability information for their own property and list events and attractions in the surrounding area. We can even have a direct link to the ‘Visit Britain’ website for all accommodation providers updating availability on a regular basis.
Wales. These will be in addition to the ‘Your Guide to Exploring Mid Wales’ Bedroom Browser which is produced annually and distributed free of charge to all members providing accommodation.
Most importantly MWT provides a strong voice for the tourism industry in Mid Wales, representing the interests of all its members on both a local and regional basis, and nationally via the Wales Tourism Alliance.
In addition to marketing opportunities, MWT have extended the range of value for money membership services on offer. In particular, significant savings can be made on credit card processing through MWT’s special membership rates with Barclaycard Merchant Services. This service has enabled a number of small businesses to offer credit card processing for the first time. For further information about Mid Wales Tourism contact
As well as developing web marketing opportunities for members, MWT is to produce two new guides for the region ‘Where to stay” and ‘What to do’ in Mid
Val Hawkins, General Manager, Mid Wales Tourism, The Station, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8TG Tel: 01654 702653
So it’s been a busy year for MWT. Centrallybased in Machynlleth, the ancient capital of Wales, MWT provides a wide range of membership services, regional marketing opportunities, industry advice and services to over 700 tourism businesses from all sectors of the tourism industry.
Keeping Out Of The Tribunal by Martin Couchman, Deputy Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association New employment procedures from 1st October 2004 To try to reduce Employment Tribunal claims, new minimum statutory procedures have been introduced from 1 October, covering dismissal and discipline, and grievances. Employers will now have to issue a written document, setting out their disciplinary rules and the new minimum procedures. Failure to do so could cost up to four weeks’ wages if an employee wins a Tribunal case. Secondly, if an employer fails to follow the procedures, any dismissal will be held automatically unfair and the Tribunal award raised by up to 50 per cent. Standard dismissal and disciplinary procedure: Step 1: Send the employee a written statement setting out what he/she has done or failed to do that may result in disciplinary action or dismissal. In case of redundancy,
Standard grievance procedure: Step 1: The employee must send you details of the grievance in writing. health, etc, set out the circumstances which led to the decision to end employment. All the details must be explained to the employee before the step 2 meeting. Step 2: The employer must invite the employee to a hearing at a reasonable time and place to discuss the issue. The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend and may be accompanied by a colleague or employee representative. After the meeting, decide what to do, inform the employee and offer a right of appeal (ACAS recommends a five-day time limit.) Step 3: An employee wishing to appeal must inform you, and you must invite him/her to an appeal meeting after which the final decision is communicated to the employee.
Step 2: You must invite the employee to a meeting at a reasonable time and location to discuss the grievance, giving yourself reasonable time to look into the case. The employee has a duty to attend and may be accompanied. Afterwards, inform the employee of the decision and offer a right of appeal.
Step 3: If the employee wishes to appeal, he/she must inform you accordingly and you must arrange an appeal meeting, preferably chaired by a more senior manager, after which the final decision is communicated to the employee.
More detailed guidance at: www.dti.gov.uk/disputeresolution
Industry To Play Major Role By Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport, Welsh Assembly Government
WALES IS A SMALL COUNTRY, and it is important that we adopt a more cohesive approach to maximise the impact of the Welsh tourism industry on our economy. The incorporation of the Wales Tourist Board into the Welsh Assembly Government will significantly improve the effectiveness, development and promotion of the industry, and will foster closer working relationships with those involved in this important part of our economy. While change can sometimes be unsettling, it is essential that our approach is one of continuous improvement in the development and delivery of public sector support for the tourism industry. Recent figures released by the Wales Tourist Board show a 4% increase in overseas visitors to Wales. Whilst these figures are encouraging, I firmly believe that by working together, we can achieve an even higher level of both overseas and domestic visitors to Wales.
These are very exciting times for the Welsh Tourism industry. Wales is being seen across the world as a place to do business, and as a place to visit. I am looking forward to working closely with you to build on the successes of the past, and maximise the many opportunities available to us.
The National Assembly Building, Cardiff Bay
We cannot be complacent or ignorant of the competitive pressures we face in marketing Wales on the international tourist scene. We have to adapt, and adopt new processes, listen to the industry and deliver a more effective, joined-up and targeted approach to ensure we improve our tourism offer. As a government we have recognised the central importance of the tourism industry to the Welsh economy, reflected in part by the record level of investment we have allocated to the Wales Tourist Board over the last few years. This recognition will continue, and the distinctive role of the industry will be clearly reflected within the new structure.
ÂŠ Wales Tourist Board
The new merged organisation will provide a sharpened commercial focus between the Assembly Government and the tourism sector, with an increased transparency and level of consultation with the industry. Whilst the Assembly Government will be directly accountable for delivering tourism support in Wales, direction and advice from individuals and organisations involved in the industry will play a major role in the revised organisational arrangements. With more than 7,000 members, the Wales Tourism Alliance is the key representative organisation for the tourist industry in Wales. I value the contribution that the Alliance and its members are making, and look forward to continuing discussions as we shape the detail of the new arrangements.
WTA Chairman Julian Burrell with EDT Minister Andrew Davies at this yearâ€™s Royal Welsh Show
ANERCHIAD Y GWEINIDOG
Y Diwydiant i Chwarae Rhan o Bwys Gan Andrew Davies, Gweinidog Datblygu Economaidd a Thrafnidiaeth, Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru
GWLAD FECHAN YW CYMRU, ac mae’n bwysig ein bod yn mabwysiadu agwedd fwy cydlynol i wneud yr eithaf o effaith y diwydiant Twristiaeth Cymreig ar ein heconomi. Bydd corfforaethu Bwrdd Croeso Cymru i mewn i Lywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru yn gwella’n sylweddol effeithiolrwydd, datblygiad a hyrwyddiant y diwydiant, ac yn meithrin perthynas waith agosach â’r rheini sy’n ymwneud â’r rhan bwysig hon o’n heconomi. Tra gall newid weithiau fod yn anghyfforddus, mae’n hanfodol fod ein hagwedd yn un o wellhau parhaus ar ddatblygiad a chyflawnhad cefnogaeth y sector gyhoeddus i’n diwydiant twristiaeth. Mae ffigyrau a ryddhawyd yn ddiweddar gan Fwrdd Croeso Cymru yn dangos cynnydd o 4% yn yr ymwelwyr tramor â Chymru, ac er bod y ffigyrau hyn yn galonogol, rwyf yn credu’n gryf y gallwn, o gydweithio, gyrraedd lefel uwch fyth o ymwelwyr tramor a chartref â Chymru.
Mae’r rhain yn adegau cyffrous iawn i’r diwydiant Twristiaeth Cymreig. Mae’r byd cyfan yn gweld Cymru fel lle i wneud busnes, ac fel lle i ymweld ag ef. Rwy’n edrych ymlaen at weithio’n glos â chi i adeiladu ar lwyddiannau’r gorffennol ac i wneud yr eithaf o’r cyfleoedd lluosog sydd ar gael i ni.
Adeilad y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol, Bae Caerdydd
Allwn ni ddim ymfodloni na bod yn anwybodus o’r pwysau cystadleuol a wynebwn wrth farchnata Cymru ar y maes twristiaeth rhyngwladol. Rhaid i ni addasu, a mabwysiadu prosesau newydd, gwrando ar y diwydiant a chyflenwi dull mwy effeithiol a chydlynol wedi ei anelu’n fanylach i sicrhau ein bod yn gwella ein cynnig twristiaeth. Fel llywodraeth rydym wedi cydnabod pwysigrwydd canolog y diwydiant twristiaeth i’r economi Gymreig, ac adlewyrchir hyn yn rhannol yn y buddsoddi ar y lefel uchaf erioed a ddyfarnasom i Fwrdd Croeso Cymru dros yr ychydig flynyddoedd diwethaf. Bydd y gydnabyddiaeth hon yn parhau, a chaiff swyddogaeth nodedig y diwydiant ei adlewyrchu’n glir o fewn y strwythur newydd.
© Bwrdd Croeso Cymru
Bydd y sefydliad cyfunol newydd yn darparu canolbwynt masnachol praffach rhwng Llywodraeth y Cynulliad a’r sector dwristiaeth, gyda mwy o dryloywedd a lefel uwch o ymgynghori â’r diwydiant. Tra bydd Llywodraeth y Cynulliad yn atebol yn uniongyrchol am gyflenwi cefnogaeth i dwristiaeth yng Nghymru, bydd cyfarwyddyd a chyngor gan unigolion a sefydliadau sy’n ymwneud â’r diwydiant yn chwarae rhan bwysig yn y trefniadau sefydliadol newydd. Gyda dros 7,000 o aelodau, Cynghrair Twristiaeth Cymru yw sefydliad cynrychioliadol allweddol y diwydiant twristiaeth yng Nghymru. Rwyf yn gwerthfawrogi’r cyfraniad y mae’r Gynghrair a’i haelodau yn ei wneud, ac edrychaf ymlaen at drafodaethau parhaus fel y byddwn yn llunio manylion y trefniadau newydd.
Cadeirydd CTC Julian Burrell gyda’r Gweinidog DET Andrew Davies yn Sioe Frenhinol Cymru eleni