TOURISTS spent around £340 million in Swansea Bay last year — and it’s partly down to the increasing popular “staycation”.
The trend for holidaying nearer home boosted the number of visitors to Wales, driving up occupancy rates at hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation in Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower.
It also helped support 5,000 jobs in the area.
And with the Dylan Thomas centenary and praise heaped on our beaches — Rhossili was named as Britain’s best beach by TripAdvisor — more and more people are expected to flood our shores.
Tony McGettrick, chairman of Tourism Swansea Bay, said the staycation trend was a great opportunity because first-time visitors from the UK would be encouraged to return if they had a good time.
He said: “The work that’s been done to encourage away fans visiting the Liberty Stadium to stay on after the game or come back again has helped make an important contribution to Swansea Bay’s profile and boost the tourist economy.
“The fact that there were more staycationers last year and they stayed here longer tells me tourism businesses in Swansea Bay have a fantastic opportunity to make sure people who come for the Dylan Thomas centenary for the first time want to come back time and again.”
New figures from Swansea Council show that last year there was eight per cent increase in the number of visitors to Wales in the first nine months of 2013. The authority is working with tourism businesses and a host of other organisations in Swansea Bay to project itself as a world-class destination.
The new Swansea Bay destination management plan “Destination Swansea Bay” addresses a range of key issues for ensuring a high quality visitor experience. The plan covers everything from increasing wifi hotspots around Swansea Bay, marketing the area as a year-round destination and increasing the focus on the luxury end of the market.
Nick Bradley, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Visitors have also told us that it’s the little things that count alongside the amazing attractions like Rhossili which is continually hailed as Britain’s best beach and Dylan Thomas, our most famous son.”