Warm welcome promised by Mid Wales tourism chief after social media outcry

Mid Wales is very much open and providing a warm welcome to visitors, the chairman of an organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses says.

The Elan Valley
The Elan Valley

Rowland Rees-Evans, who heads Mid Wales Tourism Cymru, appealed for a united, balanced approach during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to support tourism and hospitality businesses and communities across Mid Wales.

His appeal follows negative social media comments in response to media interviews with international travel journalist Simon Calder and celebrities Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash last week.

Mr Calder's glowing review of Mid Wales as a great place to visit and Solomon and Swash's revelation that they had enjoyed a visit to the Elan Valley, near Rhayader ,were met with negative comments on social media from people inferring they should have stayed at home.

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Mr Rees-Evans, a director of the family-owned Penrhos holiday, golf and leisure park at Llanrhystud, near Aberystwyth, said: “It’s a great shame that high profile travel journalist Simon Calder is castigated for suggesting that Mid Wales is a good place to go on holiday.

“Mid Wales is open for business and is a great place to visit on holiday or to take a short break.

“Whilst it is understandable that a small minority may wish to project their fear and anger online, some of these people do not even live or work in Mid Wales. The resulting negative media coverage has the potential to impact our reputation as a warm and welcoming destination and could even affect the speed of our recovery following this crisis.

Protect

Mid Wales - consisting of Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd - covers more than 42 per cent of Wales and is not currently subject to any lockdown restrictions. The region relies heavily on tourism, which supports thousands of jobs directly and in the supply chain.

Mr Rees-Evans stressed: “The region has one of the lowest Covid -19 rates in the UK, which is a reflection on who we are in Mid Wales, the way our visitors, communities and businesses have all pulled together to protect our fragile economy whilst keeping everyone safe,”

“Our businesses have invested in all the necessary Covid-secure measures and have worked so hard to safeguard their employees, visitors and local communities since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Mid Wales business owners are doing their very best to keep themselves and their families afloat through very difficult times. They are protecting jobs and livelihoods whilst keeping families and local communities safe.

“With a long winter ahead of us, and virus infection cases rising in all parts of the UK, it is more important than ever that we all pull together to help each other through this difficult time.

“Our fantastic visitors love coming to our rural region to stay, relax and experience the great outdoors. They take in our peaceful countryside, visit local shops, independent restaurants, attractions and frequently comment about our warm and welcoming communities.

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