Calls on Wales to ‘weaponise’ the language in a positive way to help promote tourism

CALLS have been made for the Welsh language to be ‘armed in a positive way’ to promote tourism in the country.

Welsh business leaders met politicians on Wednesday to discuss tourism in the country.

Sean Taylor, chairman and founder of Zip World, which employs 750 people in Wales and attracts a million visitors a year, told the Welsh Affairs Committee he felt the country needed to get away from sheep, time wet and… rugby and cocking the Welsh language. in a positive way.

He told the committee, “I feel like we’re negative about language.

“International and English visitors love the use of the language.

“We get school groups from England and as they leave they can say boron da, prynhawn da, croeso, and they love it.

The challenge for us is how to score Wales.

“We have a very lively language that we don’t push enough.

“One of our advantages is that we are very compact.

“The train from Euston to Holyhead takes three hours. There is a perception in London and the South East, as well as international visitors, that we are in Scotland. Were not. We are very close.

“We have incredible adventure tourism, heritage and gastronomy.

“It’s a complicated, long-term strategy to build the Wales brand, and I think we absolutely need to get away from sheep, wet weather and – even as chairman of my local rugby club – rugby too. Because football is now in the foreground.

“And the language should be weaponized as an advantage, not a threat.”

Ian Roberts, Chief Financial Officer of Portmeirion Cymru agreed with Mr Taylor’s comments, adding: “We at Portmeirion have always placed a strong emphasis on culture, tradition and language.

“Our Welsh language policy is strong.

“Over 90% of the people who work at Portmeirion speak Welsh and our meetings are conducted through Welsh.

“We think tourists who come to Portmeirion love to hear the language and they also love to hear that it is a living, living language.

“It’s used every day and it’s something that could be used more and also more the use of the term Cymru rather than Wales as we saw with the Welsh football team.”

The committee, which included Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, also heard from Stephen Davies, Managing Director, Penderyn Distillery and Paul Lewin, Managing Director, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways at Porthmadog.

The purpose of the committee was to explore how best to promote Wales to domestic and international tourists.

Mr Lewin told the committee he did not believe Wales was getting a fair share of the international tourism pie and that the four business leaders felt the Welsh brand needed to be strengthened.

Mr Lewin said: ‘We don’t have a clear cut proposal for Wales. And a brand for a country will have to

be built around a common theme.

“On a day like today, it screams at us that what is common to all tourist attractions in Wales is the setting. It is the wonderful environment, the beautiful landscapes and its accessibility compared to many other places.

The four business leaders also felt that while the relationship with Visit Wales was strong, contact with Visit Britain was very limited and more needed to be done.

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