NEW YORK -- The Wales Tourist Board unveiled a travel campaign that
brings together more than 35 tour operators, hotels and airlines
with special deals and discounts.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a new brochure geared to
"one-stop shopping," using the tag line "Wales Is the Place, Now Is
Raymond Mathias, Wales marketing manager for the U.S., told
Travel Weekly that the destination receives about 250,000 visitors
from the U.S. each year.
"Somewhere between 5% and 10% of U.S. visitors arriving in
Britain include Wales in their trip. We're hoping to increase that
to more than 10%," he said.
Several new operators entered the Wales market this year,
including Destination Ireland & Great Britain, Legend Tours and
United Vacations, which introduced a four-night London & Wales
fly-drive priced from $669 per person, double.
Next year, Mathias said, more tour firms will make their foray
into Wales. The marketing manager said that U.K.-based Backroads
Touring will offer a Wales program, and that Maupintour is expected
to create a soft-adventure itinerary in Wales.
The destination, which receives its tourism promotion budget
from the Welsh Assembly, will look for more funding in 2002.
"Our wish list will be for $1 million more for promotion in the
U.S.," Mathias said, adding that keeping the travel agent community
informed is a top priority for the destination.
Its total tourism budget in 2001 is about $31 million.
"Our challenge is to get the first-time Wales visitor. Our
repeat business is very high -- at more than 70%."
The hoof-and-mouth disease outbreak that impacted the U.K.
destinations this year affected Wales, but by early June, most
rural areas were open to the public.
Agents can obtain free copies of the new Wales brochure by
calling (877) 899-7199. The tourist board's Web site is at www.travelwales.org.