Calls grow to protect tourism amid shrinking budgets

Conwy Quay Image copyright Jeff Buck/ Geograph
Image caption The popular quayside area of Conwy is said to be suffering from bad maintenance

Senior figures in the tourism industry have said north Wales needs to improve the basics it offers visitors if it wants them to return.

They have claimed dirty streets, poor amenities and local authority spending cuts could affect business.

Hoteliers and industry representatives have insisted facilities should not suffer even if "money is tight".

But local councils in the region said they are doing their best with limited budgets.

Toby Tunstall, chairman of Conwy Chamber of Trade, said the popular quayside area of the town is suffering from dirty litter bins and weeds.

"When the tourists come, we want to give them the best experience we can - to show Conwy off," he said.

"To my mind, not everything in town shows Conwy off for the best. The street cleaner whom we have does a good job, but sadly because of the cutbacks, his hours have been reduced.

"So there are times when the town looks as if it needs some work doing."

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Media captionToby Tunstall, chairman of Conwy Chamber of Trade, said the quayside is suffering from dirty litter bins and weeds
Image caption Weeds in the shadow of Conwy's town walls

Jon Merrick, tourism and enterprise manager at Conwy council, said they are constantly looking at detail and prioritising the areas to improve.

He added: "The public sector is going through difficult times, but we also realise the importance of tourism to the local economy.

"Keeping our towns clean is a never ending task, but we do what we can to get the balance right."

The Welsh Government estimates tourism contributes £8.7bn to the Welsh economy and supports around 242,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

Image caption Jim Jones, managing director of north Wales Tourism said there was pressure on budgets

Jim Jones, managing director of north Wales Tourism, said: "Obviously there's a lot of pressure on public sector budgets at this time.

"But in the main tourist hotspots, it's still vital that we have good facilities in place.

"Tourist information centres and public toilets are still fundamental basics to the tourism infrastructure."

In Gwynedd, councils have said spending cuts may lead to the closure of public toilets and tourist information centres.

Steven Bristow, who runs a family attraction Greenwood Forest Park, said: "It's still important to invest in tourism facilities, even when money is tight.

"It affects repeat business. People may come once, but if they don't have a good experience, they won't come back, and they'll tell their friends."

A spokesman for Gwynedd council said the authority is currently looking to try and keep toilets and information centres open by working with other organisations, including private businesses and community councils.

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