'Tourism needs rebalancing,' says Conwy's leader

  Posted: 14.07.21 at 11:20 by Local Democracy Reporter Jez Hemming

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A new council leader said the pressures of short tourism seasons on smaller villages and the Welsh language need “rebalancing” as he assumed control of the county’s City of Culture bid.

Cllr Charlie McCoubrey made the statement to members at Conwy County Council’s full meeting last week.

He said the county’s application to become UK City of Culture for 2025 was really exciting, but he wanted to see more, better paid jobs coming from an extended tourist season.

The county announced last month it would be progressing a bid for the prestigious title.

Conwy town and its castle will be the “flagship” of the council’s expression of interest (EOI) in the scheme which would start from 2025.

If successful “a spectacular cultural programme” was being promised to celebrate, said the council’s cabinet member for arts, heritage, libraries and culture Cllr Mark Baker at the time of the announcement.

Cllr McCoubrey said the concentration of so many visitors into such a small season was putting pressure on towns and villages in the Conwy Valley and the Welsh language.

He said: “Culture is something we do in Conwy every day, and it brings in £440m a year into our economy.

“There’s an imbalance sometimes with the pressures it puts on our smaller villages and towns in the Conwy Valley and the Welsh language – and we need to rebalance that.

“(Tourism) needs to be a year-round offer where it becomes a better paid job and it respects the culture.

“Tourists are our guests – they act like guests. We’re pleased to welcome them.”

He gave “huge thanks” to Cllr Mark Baker for the work he put into developing the idea.

Cllr McCoubrey added: “This is such an exciting project. It’s pivotal to how we pull out of this pandemic.

“I’ve taken over the lead as lead member on that. I hope it’s something we will all get behind to make a difference for our residents and make tourism sustainable as we come out of this pandemic.”

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