Tensions build between locals and tourists in Wales' visitor hotspots as Britons opt for staycations

Video report by ITV Wales Work and Economy Correspondent Carole Green

As huge numbers opt for a staycation in favour of travelling abroad, parts of Wales have seen large influxes of tourists - in particular, one of Wales' most popular sites, Snowdonia National Park.

Some of those visiting the beauty spot have left their mark, parking illegally, causing huge traffic queues and leaving litter.

It's led to some animosity between tourists and locals, many of whom are still concerned about rising rates of Covid-19 infections in certain pockets of north Wales.

Some local businesses and residents have called for visitor charges at tourist hotspots in order to pay for staff who can monitor parking and crowd numbers.

Visit Wales has launched a new tourism 'pledge' that aims to encourage visitors to respect the landscape of Wales and the people who live there.

Visit Wales is asking visitors to 'pledge' that they will respect social distancing rules, the land and communities. Credit: Visit Wales

The visitor economy is a major driver of jobs, wealth and growth across Wales, with tourism estimated to be worth £3 billion.

The Visit Wales 'Addo', meaning to promise, asks visitors to follow Covid-19 safety precautions such as hand-washing and social distancing.

It also urges tourists to care for the land by avoiding crowded areas, leaving no litter and sticking to paths.

People are then encouraged to respect the local culture and language, support independent businesses and and book ahead where possible.

More than 2,500 have already signed the pledge.

During the height of lockdown, the hashtag #DontVisitWales trended on social media as people posted humorous parody posters encouraging tourists to stay away from Wales.

Siân Gwenllian, Member of the Senedd for Arfon, told ITV News she has never seen Llanberis - a village at the foot of Snowdonia - so busy, and is concerned about the implications on both locals and tourists.

"This area does depend a lot on visitors and tourists, but the visitor experience itself won't be that great if it gets too busy. It's becoming a hotspot.

"I'm incredibly proud of this area and the beauty of this area I want to share with everybody.

"I've never seen it as busy as this in somewhere like Llanberis. The virus obviously means people aren't going abroad so they're visiting here.

"The time has come that we need to be controlling the situation in a much more meaningful way."

Llanberis resident Liz said parking has become a "nightmare" in her area since lockdown restrictions eased to allow long distance travel.

"If I move my car, within five minutes someone has come and parked there. I'd rather walk. It's a nightmare trying to get somewhere to park your car.

"It's lovely to see the holidaymakers, don't get me wrong, but because they have to pay in these car parks they find streets like ours to park.

"When we go away we've got to pay for parking, so why shouldn't other people pay for parking here?"

Her neighbour, Debbie, said she was issued with a parking fine after finding it near impossible to find a suitable space near her house due to large numbers of tourists parking.

Hundreds of cars were lined up along Pen-y-Pass after many of the car parks were reported full.

Over one weekend in July, police were called out after more than 500 cars were lined up along roads in Snowdonia. Hundreds of drivers parked along Pen-y-Pass were issued with fines.

The national park authority said parking on roadsides can cause problems for farmers, local residents and emergency services.

Local authorities and park wardens described the scenes as "scary" and "shameful".

There have also been fears the rise in tourism could cause a spike in Covid-19 cases, with several north Wales politicians expressing their fears in a joint letter to the First Minister.

It said the number of visitors flocking to seaside towns in Gwynedd, such as Barmouth, Aberdyfi, Abersoch and Morfa Byvhan, were "more than can be dealt with".

Towns and seaside resorts in Pembrokeshire have also seen an influx in tourists since lockdown eased.

Beaches and beauty spots across other parts of Wales have also seen an influx of tourists as lockdown restrictions eased.

Pembrokeshire County Council has put restrictions in place to prevent motorhomes from parking up near the seaside town of Newgale.

It comes as locals raised concerns over safety after a number of caravans were spotted parking in lay-bys near the coast.

The Welsh Government has maintained caution when encouraging people to visit Wales, reminding tourists that Covid-19 has not gone away.