Tourism trade association Tourism Swansea Bay was invited to speak in Llandudno last week on the 20th June at the first ever Tourism Ambassadors for Wales Conference organised by the Next Tourism Generation Project at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Snowdonia National Park Authority. The event was hosted by Iwan Thomas, the CEO of PLANED (Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise & Development), and the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas AM, welcomed attendees.
Snowdonia National Park Authority plan to pilot a tourism ambassador scheme so the conference was organised to learn more from existing ambassador schemes across Wales to generate discussion, ideas and actions.
The Gower Ambassadors project, run by Dean Jeffery, a Gower Ambassador himself and Manager of Tourism Swansea Bay, was invited to present alongside ambassador schemes in Brecon, Denbighshire and Wrexham. The presenters explained how they run their schemes, what they have done with their tourism ambassadors and the lessons learned along the way.
Dean Jeffery said, “It was a fantastic event with opportunities to learn from other ambassador schemes in Wales. Ambassadors are a real bonus to a destination, providing a warm welcome and recommendations to visitors with their expert local knowledge and a personal touch. It was an honour to be chosen alongside brilliant schemes in other areas – we must be doing something right in Gower, and we are glad to provide input for Snowdonia National Park. Several members of Tourism Swansea Bay are also Gower Ambassadors and find it a benefit for their business.”
The Project Lead of the Next Tourism Generation Project in Wales, Dr. Sheena Carlisle, said, “We really appreciated the contribution from Gower that clearly demonstrated the value of ambassadors involving businesses and residents in the promotion of sustainable tourism. The highly successful event brought together businesses from across Wales to share ideas, gain a better understanding of local innovations and network to strengthen partnerships.”
To date Tourism Swansea bay have had their Gower Ambassadors, in their signature blue hats and coats, engaging with visitors and attending events such as the Gower Show, Gower Walking Festival, Gower Cycling festival and more. The ambassadors have also been out helping to preserve and look after Gower, attending beach cleans and other conservation activities. They are currently helping the Gower AONB team with an application for Gower to receive a ‘Dark Sky Community’ status from the International Dark Skies Association.
Seeing the value in the ambassador scheme, Tourism Swansea Bay wanted to ensure they remained active and well utilised for the destination, local events and tourism trade. So, with funding from Welsh Government Sustainable Development Fund, they took on the project of coordinating the Gower Ambassadors in July 2018. Since then the programme has grown from strength to strength and is continuing to evolve and recruiting more ambassadors.
The Gower Ambassadors Project was originally instigated under the Gower Landscape Partnership programme, with further funding and support from Swansea Rural Development Partnership through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
If you would like to learn more about the Gower Ambassadors and how to become one then please visit www.gowerambassadors.co.uk
More information about Tourism Swansea Bay can be found at www.tourismswanseabay.co.uk