Wales' declining tourism industry "no surprise"

One of Wales' leading experts on the tourism industry says there "is no surprise" in the decline of the sector here and leaders must re-assess the way it is organised.

Professor Terry Stevens, Managing Director of the international tourism consultancy Stevens Associates says despite world wide events such as the Ryder Cup having been brought here, Wales is still losing it's share in the market place by 3 to 4% a year.

"We need to not take a knee-jerk reaction but really have a good look at how we're organised and what's wrong with the way in which we are developing our tourism product. We have raw materials that are as good as many of our competitors but clearly the markets are not interested."

Spending by international visitors coming to Wales has fallen from £331m in 2009 to £326m last year and more than 100,00 fewer nights were spent here.

Tourism, and the thousands of jobs it supports is currently run by the Welsh Government, via Visit Wales.

But Professor Stevens believes that the only way to offer a rounded approach to the industry is a return to it's predecessor, the Welsh Tourist board.

"I think we have a real opportunity.

"The demise of the Welsh Tourist Board, the setting up of Visit Wales within government was clearly a mistake.

"We're one of the very very few countries in the world without an agency approach to the promotion of their national tourism product.

The Welsh Government blames the drop in tourist income in Wales on the recession and competition from new destinations.

They say they'll concentrate on fewer markets for a better return on investment.