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Outdoor Activity Tourism Worth 601m
29/04/2014

The findings of a report to place a monetary value on the outdoor activity tourism sector in Wales are now available. Commissioned by Visit Wales, some of the key facts in The Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in Wales are:
  • 601 million total expenditure

  • Directly supports 8,243 jobs

  • North Wales has the highest proportion of both day and overnight visitors
  • 481 million economic contribution (Gross value adjusted for deadweight, displacement and multipliers) consisting of:

    - 236 million from domestic overnight visitors
    - 220 million from day trippers
    - 24 million from international overnight visitors
  • 304 million in value added - economic impact adjusted for people living in Wales (10% of Welsh Tourism added value)
The research was undertaken by Miller Research in partnership with the Wales Activity Tourism Organisation (WATO). Total expenditure on outdoor activity tourism in Wales accounts for 12%* of expenditure overall in the Welsh tourist economy.

Snowdonia-Active CEO, Chris Wright, said: "It's great that Visit Wales have commissioned this piece of work, acknowledging their commitment to improving the understanding of how important the outdoor sector is to the Welsh economy. The fact that we now know that the sector contributes 12% to the tourism economy in Wales is great news and paves the way for future investment and development for both the private and public sector."

Chris Wright added: "From a regional perspective, seeing that north Wales has the largest economic impact by a long way compared to other parts of Wales, vindicates our 12 years of work in supporting and developing this crucial sector."

Walkers account for a large proportion of this economic contribution because of their high numbers. They're defined in this report as 'long walkers' as opposed to 'short walkers', covering greater than 2 miles in an hour, and include hill walkers and mountaineers.

Excluding this group from the 601 million figure, the total expenditure becomes 172 million. However their average visitor spend per person appears to be far less than other outdoor activity tourists. The average visitor spend per person is 50.64 including walkers and 106 when they're excluded.

For the purpose of the research, outdoor activities were defined as the activities provided by members of WATO and were typically adventurous, adrenaline activities requiring some amount of exertion. Road cycling, angling and field sports were not included because recent research has already attempted to place a value on such activities.

In a separate business survey of outdoor activity providers, with 93 responses, the main activity for the highest proportion of respondents was climbing but trekking was the most widely offered.

In terms of regional impact, north Wales has the highest proportion of both day and overnight visitors, unsurprising perhaps when you take into account the high quality environment and the variety of activities available. It also has an economic contribution of nearly twice that of the next highest contributing region, south-west Wales.

Although the comments and conclusions included in the report were generally optimistic there were a couple of negatives over the issue of access to the countryside: "The majority of visitors express an intention to return to Wales for activities however certain groups are discouraged from undertaking activities such as kayaking in Wales due to confusion and dispute over access to land and water. Access is therefore a key issue to be tackled in order to encourage further success of the sector in Wales."

And: "Several individuals also suggested that confusion over access rights had led them to pursue their activity outside of Wales, many in Scotland, where the access rights were argued by many to be clearer and more user friendly."

It was hoped that the Green Paper from the Welsh Government on the review of access for outdoor recreation in Wales would address these concerns but after several publication deadlines have come and gone, it is now clear that a Green Paper will not be forthcoming from Welsh Government.

The final report on The Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in Wales can be downloaded here.

*Based on total tourism expenditure according to Welsh Government figures.

Topic: Outdoor Activity Tourism, The Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in Wales.


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