Memorandum submitted by the Wales Tourist
1.1 The Value of Tourism to Wales
Tourism is a major contributor to the Welsh
economy. Tourism touches peoples lives in many ways:
£2 billion worth of direct visitor
7 per cent contribution to GDP in
10 per cent of jobs in Wales.
Income to a wide range of businesses.
A wider impact through the multiplier.
Opportunities in town and country.
Support for the environment, culture
and heritage of Wales.
Support for local services and facilities.
A boost to the image of Wales.
However, the factors that effect demand for
tourism are changing rapidly and as tourism in Wales experiences
structural change, investment in the development and marketing
is required in order to maintain Wales' competitiveness.
1.2 The Potential of Overseas Tourism
Overseas tourism to Britain as a whole is worth
circa £12,671 million annually. The International Passenger
Survey indicates that Wales' share of this market is low at 1.4
per cent. The most up to date figures for 1998 indicate that Wales
received 790,000 visits worth approximately £176 million
to the Welsh economy. Wales' market share of domestic tourism
is much higher at 8 per cent. It is clear therefore that there
is considerable potential to improve our market share of international
visitors to the UK and to grow overseas visitor spend.
The Wales Tourist Board's Tourism StrategyAchieving
Our Potential indicated challenging growth targets for international
tourism to Wales, assuming that sufficient resources are made
available. By 2010 the target is to attract 1.26 million visitors
spending £396 million annually.
1.3 Statutory Framework
The Wales Tourist Board was established in 1969
under the Development of Tourism Act along with the National Tourist
Boards of England and Scotland and the British Tourist Authority.
The Act charged the Wales, Scottish and English Tourist Boards
with developing tourism within their respective countries and
with promoting those countries within the UK. The same Act charged
the British Tourist Authority with encouraging people living overseas
to visit Britain.
Thus under the 1969 Act, the Wales Tourist Board
was prohibited from using its own resources to market Wales internationally.
However, in 1992 the Tourism (Overseas Promotion) (Wales) Act
1992 was passed. This granted powers to the Wales Tourist Board
to promote Wales overseas providing that it first received consent
from the Secretary of State for Wales who was required to consult
with the British Tourist Authority prior to taking a decision.
A similar Act in respect of Scotland was passed in 1984. There
has been no similar change to the 1969 Act in respect of England.
Through the Government of Wales Act 1998 the
functions and powers of the Secretary of State under the Development
of Tourism Act were transferred to the National Assembly for Wales.
The Assembly also has the power under the Act to call the British
Tourist Authority to give evidence before it and to produce documents
1.4 Partnership Framework
From 1 January 1998 a new Overseas Marketing
Agreement was formulated between the British Tourist Authority
and its strategic National Tourist Board partners. The Agreement
set out to clarify the roles, responsibilities and working relationships
between the British Tourist Authority and in our case, the Wales
Tourist Board. A copy of the Marketing Agreement is attached as
appendix 1. The Agreement is monitored by a steering group comprised
of Senior Directors of the Boards. Additional protocol agreements
relating to specific areas of work are also developed building
on the principles enshrined in the Marketing Agreement. In addition
there are regular planning meetings between relevant officers
and regular liaison and communication at all levels.
The Chairman of the Wales Tourist Board is also
an ex officio member of the British Tourist Authority Board.
2. HOW IS
The Wales Tourist Board's current overseas marketing
budget is circa £1.5 million. This compares to a total budget
of the British Tourist Authority of £35.5 million.
Through the planning processes outlined above,
the Wales Tourist Board resource is used to supplement the work
of the British Tourist Authority in priority markets for Wales.
The Wales Tourist Board is currently active in the following overseas
PrimaryUSA, France, Germany, Holland,
SecondaryAustralasia, Japan, Belgium
The markets are selected after analysis using
a number of criteria to establish which offer the best potential
for Wales. Some of the criteria used include current value of
the market, cost of penetrating the market, potential for seasonal
and regional spread, access from the market etc. The spread of
overseas markets and the priority lists are currently under review.
Final decisions will be taken when overall budget levels for the
next three years are known.
Within each market, we then select priority
market segments, these are basically identifiable groups within
the overall market. Again, the selection process for market segments
is determined by analysis of key selection criteria. It is essential
that the relatively limited budget available to the Wales Tourist
Board is used in as targeted a way as possible. Without such clear
targeting it would be impossible to make any significant improvement
in respect of Wales' international performance.
Through the marketing planning process, we then
determine the marketing action plans within each chosen market.
Although the individual plans will vary from market to market,
they will generally include:
Supplementing the British Authority
Influencing the travel media.
Developing direct response marketing
campaigns involving the British Tourist Authority and other partner
Improving Wales product representation
amongst the overseas travel trade.
Agreeing print distribution plans.
In addition, through a process of negotiation
and discussion, we seek to maximise the benefits for Wales by
agreeing with the British Tourist Authority, their support for
Wales within each market.
The marketing activity has to involve a considered
balance between activities which raise awareness of Wales as a
destination in the medium to long term and shorter term initiatives
which will stimulate bookings.
3.1 Branding Wales
In general terms, the image of Wales in overseas
markets lacks clarity and our profile is low. In our opinion,
for this to change it requires a clear, effective branding strategy
which ensures a consistent image of Wales is communicated in target
markets by the Wales Tourist Board and its strategic partners
including the British Tourist Authority. We believe that responsibility
for determining this branding strategy and for agreeing the nature
of the image of Wales portrayed must rest with the Wales Tourist
Board. We believe that the countries which make up Britain add
to the richness and diversity of Britain's tourism product offer.
Every effort should be made therefore, to allow the Wales tourism
brand to develop under the Britain umbrella. All British Tourist
Authority communication should therefore consistently and effectively
signpost the Wales brand. If Britain is acting as an effective
umbrella it allows the opportunity to filter interest through
to its constituent parts. The British Tourist Authority advertising
and promotional strategy must in our opinion, allow this to happen
and when Wales is promoted it should reflect the agreed branding
and image content for Wales. There is no doubt that if it is communicated
effectively, Britain can add value to the Wales brand and vice
One of the factors which may have hindered the
development of a profile for Wales internationally is the lack
of differentiation between the terms "Britain" and "England"
amongst many overseas consumers. For many people overseas they
use the term "England" when they are in fact referring
to "Britain". It is imperative in our opinion therefore,
that whenever Britain is referred to, it clearly identifies and
represents all of its constituent brands and not just England.
This will help overcome confusion in consumer perception and will
increase the recognition and understanding of Wales.
3.2 Effective use of Resources
The British Tourist Authority operates an effective
network of offices in 27 countries throughout the World. However,
such a presence is costly and therefore limits the proportion
of the British Tourist Authority budget that is available for
proactive promotion and marketing. Although it will become increasingly
important for Wales to have detailed market intelligence and partner
relationships within its primary markets, our priority must be
to use our limited resources to facilitate proactive marketing
activity for Wales. We therefore need to ensure that the British
Tourist Authority's bricks and mortar and human resource network
is complementary to the work of the Wales Tourist Board. Any dedicated
staff required for Wales on territory can be generally accommodated
through specific additional presence within the existing British
Tourist Authority offices as is the case currently in New York,
or through additional representation linked to individual tasks
such as media representation and travel trade sales support. In
general terms therefore and assuming that the British Tourist
Authority office network is operating effectively on behalf of
Wales we do not envisage the need to open tourism offices for
Wales overseas. It is recognised however, that in the future there
may be increased opportunities to work on territory with other
Wales based partners particularly the Welsh Development Agency.
The Wales Tourist Board advocates a flexible approach which allows
us to take decisions based on an assessment of the market needs
and the potential return on investment.
Since obtaining overseas marketing powers the
Wales Tourist Board has demonstrated the quality of its market
analysis and communication. We have also developed a strong understanding
of the issues surrounding the international marketing of Wales
as a tourism destination. As stated above, we believe that the
challenging growth targets for Wales can only be achieved if additional
resources are made available. We believe that any additional resources
must be under the control of the Wales Tourist Board. We would
always seek to ensure that these resources complement and supplement
the work of British Tourist Authority and that the British Tourist
Authority guidance and advice is sought in the development of
the marketing strategy.
3.3 Sharing Targets and Objectives
The British Tourist Authority and Wales Tourist
Board=s marketing plans are very closely linked and complementary.
The fact that the British Tourist Authority has to represent the
whole of Britain however does sometimes make it difficult to share
specific targets relating directly to Wales. It is evident however,
that it will be difficult for Wales to achieve its desired objectives
unless the British Tourist Authority resources are working fully
in support of Wales. Arguably therefore, in the future, complementary
strategies between the Wales Tourist Board and the British Tourist
Authority may not be sufficient to bring about the desired increase
in international visitors to Wales. It may be necessary to sign
up to a common agreed strategy for Wales and the targets and desired
outputs resulting from that strategy. Respective roles would also
be agreed with regards to the implementation of the strategy.
One of the key measurable targets set by the
Department of Culture, Media and Sport in relation to the performance
of the British Tourist Authority is linked to return on investment.
If this target becomes the key driver for British Tourist Authority
policy it could lead decisions which may effect Wales adversely.
For example, it could be easier to achieve return on investment
targets by promoting established destinations within the UK such
Although the British Tourist Authority does
have a general objective of improving the regional spread of tourism,
it does not have a measurable target in this respect. Closer alignment
British Tourist Authority with monitorable targets for Wales (and
other regions) would assist in monitoring their success in contributing
to regional spread.
3.4 Clarifying Roles
When the British Tourist Authority develop and
coordinate specific campaigns within individual markets, they
have the unenviable task of satisfying the needs and aspirations
of a number of strategic partners with differing views and objectives.
Often the resources at the disposal of the strategic partners
also vary considerably. The British Tourist Authority also have
to contend with the fact that whilst Wales, Scotland, Northern
Ireland, London and some English regions may be able to bring
money to the table, the English Tourism Council currently has
no overseas marketing remit. The challenge facing the British
Tourist Authority is to coordinate the effective use of the individual
budgets available and meet the needs and particular aspirations
of individual partners without compromising the effectiveness
of the overall marketing campaign from a consumer perspective.
Equally, each partner will need to determine whether the leverage
it generates from working in a pan Britain initiative overcomes
any necessary compromises in the clarity and effectiveness of
the communication of the individual country brand.
It is important to Wales that the absence of
an English organisation with a remit to promote the whole of England
overseas does not in the future lead to British Tourist Authority
de facto becoming the overseas arm of the English Tourism Council.
Arguably ensuring consistency in the responsibilities of Wales
Tourist Board, Scottish Tourist Board and English Tourism Council
would help clarify the future role of the British Tourist Authority
in implementing specific campaigns.
3.5 Balancing a Strategic Approach with Individual
Any organisation with a global marketing responsibility
must successfully balance the need for a consistent strategic
approach with the requirement to be flexible in responding to
individual market conditions. The British Tourist Authority has
in recent years moved from a more centralist approach to marketing
planning and delivery to a devolved approach giving greater responsibility
to managers responsible for individual markets and regions. In
general the Wales Tourist Board welcomes this approach as it has
led to more innovative and relevant marketing solutions. However,
this policy can sometimes make strategic planning for the Wales
brand more difficult as we have to "conform" with marketing
decisions taken by individual country managers. We will work with
the British Tourist Authority to create a framework for marketing
which allows market flexibility but which ensures that Wales is
consistently represented and communicated.
4. FUTURE CHALLENGE
We are competing in a dynamic environment where
the conditions effecting demand for tourism in Wales are ever
changing. Also, as a result of devolution, greater emphasis is
being placed on the constituent countries and regions of Britain.
Success for Wales will require that we make the most of Britain's
position as one of the leading incoming tourism destinations in
the world whilst working with the British Tourist Authority to
ensure that the profile of Wales is enhanced and that we are able
to capture an increased share of an enlarged tourism market for
Britain as a whole.
We will need to build on the already positive
working relationship with the British Tourist Authority and seek
to integrate strategies still further and to clarify respective
roles in the overall communication process.
Success for Wales will demand a single minded
approach with all strategic partners working towards a common
agreed objective and vision. It will require that all resources
are used effectively. There will be no room for ambiguity or duplication.