Wales is No. 1 choice for Overseas Tourists
Overseas visitors to Britain would rather visit Wales’ historic castles to visitor attractions including Buckingham Palace and Stonehenge, as revealed in a new report by VisitBritain, who surveyed more than 10,000 foreign tourists.
Researchers gave tourists a list of 18 things that can only be done in Britain, and asked them to pick the ones they’d like to do most.
Wales’ castles topped their favourites with one third of the votes. This was followed by a visit to Buckingham palace, a night in a Scottish castle, watching sunrise at Stonehenge and, in equal fifth place, shopping at Harrods and watching a Premier League football match.
Assembly Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said: “I’m delighted that Wales’ castles are such an attraction for our overseas visitors.
“Our 641 castles tell the captivating history of our past and are located in some of the most beautiful spots.
“It’s no wonder that they’ve also captured the hearts and minds of those who took part in the survey.” Mr Jones said the Assembly had invested in Wales’ history.
He added: “Some 20% of tourism expenditure can be attributed to the importance of the historic environment in attracting visitors. This is why we have invested in many of our important historical sites through the £19m Heritage Tourism project.”
10,000 adults from 20 nations around the world were interviewed and touring the castles of Wales had strong appeal in almost all markets, with Poland (49%), Russia (48%), Italy (46%), and Germany (44%) scoring the highest.
Patricia Yates, the Assembly’s director of strategy and communications, said: “These results show how powerful our culture and heritage is in attracting foreign tourists and the global appeal of experiences that you can only find in Britain.”
Llion Pughe, director of Best of Wales Holiday Cottages said that “Wales has a great mix of beauty, substance and character, a very powerful and attractive combination.
He said: “The main challenge for the industry in Wales is that it still needs more international presence before it can utilise its ‘pulling power’. Let us all work together in 2011 to make sure that the world can get to know Wales and her great personality.”
Cardiff council’s executive member for sport, culture and leisure, Nigel Howells, said: “Cardiff Castle is a great link to Cardiff’s cultural and historical heritage and as the report demonstrates the castle still plays an important role in shaping the city’s future.
“Having a strong tourist industry is essential to the economy in Cardiff, with the castle playing a pivotal role in attracting tourists to the heart of the city.”