First published Friday, March 20, 2015
Spring. Of the four seasons of the year, it is the one that brings new life and colour after the colder, darker days of winter. From the daffodils and snowdrops along the roadsides and the lambs in the fields, to the lengthening hours of daylight and increase in temperatures, it is a welcome season for many.
This year spring is also bringing with it some great news of new developments and projects that will have a positive impact on tourism in Pembrokeshire, some relatively quickly, some over a longer period of time.
In recent weeks, Fishguard and Goodwick Chamber of Trade and Tourism have been successful in securing a substantial sum of money from the Coastal Communities Fund. Over the course of the next two years, the Refreshing North Pembrokeshire Project will be working with a broad range of businesses in the North Pembrokeshire area to support and strengthen the visitor offering, and develop a strong identity for the area encompassing all there is to see and do in the locale. Impacts from this project are likely to be felt relatively quickly – watch this space for updates!
Earlier this month, the Port of Milford Haven secured outline planning permission for the Milford Haven Masterplan, an ambitious plan to develop the Milford Haven Marina and immediate surrounding area as a distinct destination combining leisure, residential and fishing activity. Milford Haven is the largest fishing port in Wales, and the 3rd largest port in the UK, handling over 29% of the UK trade in seaborne oil and gas. The Masterplan development, totalling some £70million worth of investment will create around 600 jobs over the next few years, revitalise the fishing activity of the port enabling catches to be processed here in the county rather than driven straight out to somewhere else, create new residential areas and last but by no means least deliver a vibrant and varied leisure and recreational area in the heart of Milford Haven. It will take time for the full process to complete, but with a very clear commitment to community engagement and a desire to see Milford Haven deliver a significant contribution to the broader Pembrokeshire visitor economy, the Port of Milford Haven are being proactive in playing a part in supporting tourism here in the county.
Behind the scenes work is continuing to identify the best structure for the support and development of tourism in Pembrokeshire. Earlier this year Destination Pembrokeshire began asking for input from stakeholders and businesses across the county to help shape the future structure of the group. Currently, Destination Pembrokeshire comprises four core stakeholders – Pembrokeshire Tourism, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, PLANED and Pembrokeshire County Council – with a number of other organisations regularly being asked for contribution to the overall Destination Management Plan. This group at present receives no direct funding, and whilst it has achieved a great deal over the last few years, not least formulation and acceptance of the Destination Management Plan, to continue to make an effective and relevant contribution to the development of the tourism ‘product’ in the future, it is highly likely that a new structure of some sort will have to be found. As such in April a report will be presented to the stakeholder group detailing a range of options for the ‘formalisation’ of Destination Pembrokeshire, from which action will be taken to ensure that there is a clearly defined ‘joined up’ approach to the management and marketing of Pembrokeshire as a visitor destination.
These are just three of a number of developments happening across Pembrokeshire at present. Individual businesses are also busy investing in and developing their offering for the visitor, a continual process for many of them. Across all of these developments however there is one thing that stands out – proactivity. In each case, an individual person or small group of people has made a decision to do something to make a difference, to take responsibility for making something happen. In doing so, they’re setting out on a mission to add value to the local economy, seek to support local jobs and create growth. There is a great deal on offer here in Pembrokeshire, and as such plenty of opportunity to develop new products and new experiences for visitors and residents alike. Someone, somewhere has to be brave enough to take the step into the unknown and try out their idea. If enough people do the same then great things will happen! Pembrokeshire has been in the spotlight quite a lot recently for a range of reasons, so what better time to capitalise on that with some great developments and activity to keep people coming to the county time and time again?
First posted on the Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog