Friday, 18 May 2012

Good things afoot on Anglesey

The cream of the tourism industry on Anglesey gathered yesterday at the Tre Ysgawen Hotel to agree a Destination Management Plan for the Island. As tourism supports 4000 jobs with a revenue of £234 million and really defines the Island, getting everyone concerned to agree a shared formal plan as to how to manage the place to greater advantage (with all the various stakeholders knowing just what is expected of them) is pretty important. I am happy to report that the work has begun in a very positive way. From the walking sector our friends Anglesey Walking and Cycling Holidays, Celticos (who offer bespoke tours) and David Wagstaff (top rate guide and expert on the Copper Kingdom) were all there and David was chosen to head up the History and Heritage section. I was there in respect of my work for Walking North Wales and to promote our newest venture, Cruise Excursions Wales which includes Holyhead.

Iwan Huws is head of tourism on Anglesey and outlined the bones of the plan. In doing so he showed a film of a focus group from England containing frank views (good and bad) on what people thought of Anglesey. This was a breakthrough in tourism development at a local level. There is a temptation to seek only comfort from tourism surveys, “confirmation bias” it is called. Surveys typically say things like “X % said they thought the area good value for money and would return”-as if customer perceptions could be neatly fitted into an answer to a multiple choice question. As Kipling wrote “to see ourselves as others see us” is a crucial skill. Understanding how we are seen by our potential customers is first base to getting them to come here. Some of the perceptions might seem plain daft-but they are real.

The day was introduced by Alex Aldridge. He hails from Flint and has been the Commissioner responsible for Economic Development following the suspension of the Council. I don’t know what he got his OBE for, but he will deserve another one by the time this job is done!

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