Posted by: Carlos | September 1, 2010

Tourism Wales UK celebrates ten years of success

A decade on from publication by This Week of its report entitled A Snapshot from the Middle of a Revolution, Tourism Wales UK has emerged as the largest and most progressive online marketing membership organisation in Wales with its focus entirely on bringing visitors to Wales from the rest of the UK and overseas.

It celebrates its 10th birthday this year after seeing a 100% increase in booking enquiries in the first half of 2010 and notching up its 10,000th booking enquiry for Wales on 30th July.

It’s taken ten years for a true picture to emerge after the Snapshot report was first published in 2000. Ten years and £10m of public expenditure later, Visit Wales’ much-heralded destination marketing system is now seen as a failure by the industry after poor performance and being forced to withdraw its booking system three years ago.

In doing so it became a time thief to progress by soaking up the marketing budgets of many small tourism businesses in Wales given to expect more, drawing income away from private sector players and draining the investment required for innovation.

As a result Wales has slipped backwards. The disintermediation anticipated in the Snapshot report hasn’t materialised and many small businesses remain behoven to commission agents that relieve them of subscriptions and commission on bookings up to 30%. It’s little wonder Wales is considered uncompetitive with occupancy rates amongst the lowest in Europe.

Can Wales tourism recover this lost ground? Yes, it’s already happening and is the reason why Tourism Wales UK is experiencing the success it deserves. By concentrating its marketing effort on bringing booking enquiries direct to tourism businesses, the middleman is removed from the equation. This leaves tourism businesses with two options: they can reduce their rates to become more competitive, or they can increase their bottom line by pocketing the commission otherwise payable.

But there’s much more to it than that. Gone are the days when one organisation can deliver a single marketing solution. That was Visit Wales’ mistake. Consumer marketing today is all about neworking, using information tools available from several product and service providers.

Tourism Wales UK’s success is that it has brought these providers together under one umbrella, giving tourism businesses any number of inexpensive options they know they can trust. This new multi-agency solution doesn’t stop there either. It extends to network solutions that engage Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple, Nokia and new technology startups to help future proof investment.

This renaissance in Wales tourism marketing was marked earlier this year by a ‘Place and People’ Symposium at TechniumCAST (Centre for Advanced Software Technology) Bangor. This will be followed by a ‘Tourism’ Symposium scheduled this autumn during week commencing 15th November.

The ‘Tourism’ Symposium will mark the UK launch in Wales of the WelcomeWeb Award scheme to boost online consumer confidence and help tourism businesses up their game and usability of their own websites.

It will enable them in turn to take the fullest possible advantage of direct, commission-free booking opportunities presented by Google Places, Microsoft Bing, mobile services and a whole host of other new products and services that can be trusted to drive up small and micro tourism business profits.

Wales.info in support of Tourism Wales UK and Location Wales Online will make it its business to keep tourism business in touch with developments in Wales at News from Wales.info and through regular, no nonsense email alerts.

So, you see, Tourism Wales UK has much to celebrate on its 10th birthday!

For more information on this posting contact the Tourism Wales UK team at tourism@wales.info and visit http://www.wales.info

Tourism businesses in Wales that want to sign up to the Tourism Wales UK programme for the remainder of 2010 should go to http://wales.info/admin/ourpackages2010_2.asp.

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