Tourism vision to attract more visitors to ‘Gateway to Wales’

A tourism and business group has unveiled a new vision to attract day visitors, overnight guests and holidaymakers to discover and celebrate Flintshire.

Flintshire Tourism Association (FTA) is rebranding with a new website and ideas including historical tours, promotion of Welsh language projects, improved town-to-town links and ‘story shops’ to garner more interest and investment into the county.

Up to 50 people met at the Springfield Hotel in Pentre Halkyn, near Holywell, to take part in the unveiling of the new FTA blueprint that proposes collaborative working and best practice, to capitalise on innovative projects to increase national visitor numbers to Wales.

There were 4.8 million overnight domestic GB trips to Wales in the first six months of 2019, an increase of 6%, generating expenditure of £880 million.

Sunset on Talacre Beach at the Point of Ayr Lighthouse near Prestatyn, North Wales
(Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

Association Chair Jo Smith – owner of the Little Welsh Cheese Company and Hope Mountain B&B – believes the abundance of top-quality bars and restaurants, food and drink producers, accommodation providers, creatives and hospitality-related organisations gives the ‘Gateway to Wales’ plenty to be proud of.

“As ‘one voice’ rather than individual companies working in silos, we can be better placed to take advantage of trends by working with marketing themes supported by Visit Wales to shine a light on some of the area’s most popular landmarks, including Moel Famau, Loggerheads Country Park, Greenfield Valley, Wepre Park, St Winefride’s Well and Theatr Clywd,” she said.

“Flintshire has so much to offer, and as a collective we are in a far better position to generate interest, pursue grants and funding, and promote the positives in this region. Taking a more advanced approach to that and combining our efforts as one voice means that voice will be harder to ignore.

Beech trees in Coed Moel Famau
(Image: Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

“We want businesses of all sizes in the county that are in any way linked to tourism and hospitality to join us and share their ideas on what we can do to shine a light on the hidden gems in Flintshire, not just for holidaymakers and day trippers but for people from across North Wales and over the border.”

Supported by Flintshire County Council, the event featured presentations by organisations including Taste North East Wales, and Yonda.

Those in attendance agreed rebranding the Association offering to attract new members should include a new name, website and videos curated by members and the public.

Association Director Louise Barlow, from Acorn Leisure, agreed they need to “tell their story” in a different way.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas with owners Peter and Louise Barlow at the launch of Maes Mynan Park in Afonwen, near Caerwys
(Image: Radar PR)

“This new approach will open new doors for collaborative projects and accessing a wider variety of funding pots that can see other third sector organisations, local authorities and bigger businesses getting behind us,” she said.

“A more joined-up way of thinking will benefit us individually but, more importantly, by working together we can share information in an inspiring way to attract more visitors to the region to support the local economy.”

To join FTA email info@discoverflintshire.co.uk

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