Figures released by the Wales Tourist Board today reveal that the Easter weekend got the holiday season in Wales off to a great start - with 90% of businesses reporting that Easter was as good as, or better, than 2003.Businesses reported an increase in overseas visitors taking a break in Wales over the Easter holidays - 83% of tourism business in Wales reported that the level of overseas visitors to Wales was higher or the same as 2003.
The Easter weekend also gave the tourism industry in Wales a confidence boost, with 87% of tourism operators reporting that they were feeling optimistic about the coming season.
Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport, said: “Wales has so much to offer visitors - fantastic scenery, beautiful coastline and plenty of scope for activities from cycling to hiking to sailing. It is excellent news for the tourism industry here that so many people from the UK, as well as further afield, have made the most of their Easter break in Wales. These figures bode well for another successful season for the industry.”
Philip Evans, Chairman of the Wales Tourist Board, commented:
“We know that tourism is now a 12 months of the year industry - but with a good Easter weekend under our belt, we can look forward with confidence to the rest of the year. We will continue to work in partnership with the industry in order to achieve further success. 2003 was an extremely successful year for tourism in Wales, with end-of-year figures showing that Wales outperformed the rest of the UK, with visitors to Wales spending £1.766 billion - an increase of 14% - at a time when spend in the UK as a whole was down 1%.
“Although we’ve had a great start to the year, the work of marketing Wales as a holiday destination for the coming season will not come to an end. The Big Country campaign will continue to make sure that Wales is at the forefront of people’s mind when thinking about a week, weekend or day trip away - we have to remember that one good weekend doesn’t a good season make”.
As visitors from the UK and Overseas flocked to Wales the accommodation sector was very busy, with 68% reporting no spare capacity over the Easter weekend. 81% of businesses also reported that the level of advance bookings was higher or the same as 2003.