Wales needs to move away from ‘sheep, weather and rugby’, says Zip World founder

Wales needs to move away from ‘sheep, weather and rugby’, says Zip World founder

A man (name not provided) descends the zipline at Zip World in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, Bangor, North Wales.  (PA file)

A man (name not provided) descends the zipline at Zip World in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, Bangor, North Wales. (PA file)

The director of Zip World said that Wales needs a rebrand to make it more attractive to UK and international tourists and to “run away from sheep, wet weather and… rugby”.

Sean Taylor testified to the Welsh Affairs Committee on Wednesday and said the nation should promote its adventure tourism destinations, “amazing” food and drink and various historic sites.

Taylor was joined by Penderyn Distillery chief executive Stephen Davies, Ian Roberts of Portmeirion Cymru, and Paul Lewin of FFestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, who agreed that the country is often “overshadowed” by Scotland, Ireland and England. because of its “weakness”. brand.

“It’s a complicated, long-term strategy as we build the Wales brand, and I think we definitely need to get away from the sheep, the wet weather and – even as president of my local rugby club – rugby as well. Because football has come to the fore now,” Taylor said.

Sean Taylor speaking virtually to the Welsh Affairs Committee on Wednesday.  (SHOVEL)

Sean Taylor speaking virtually to the Welsh Affairs Committee on Wednesday. (SHOVEL)

“If you look at the brand in Wales, it’s quite weak compared to the Irish brand and the Scottish brand in particular.

“At the moment, I think we’re a little overshadowed. You have the royal family in London, you have tartan and Loch Ness in Scotland and in Ireland you have Guinness.”

Other suggestions included more use of the country name Cymru rather than the English version of Wales, and emphasis on the Welsh language.

“Language needs to be weaponized as an advantage, not a threat,” Taylor said.

“I feel like there are often negative connotations about the language. But our international and English visitors love the use of the Welsh language.

A view of the tourist village of Portmeirion in Gwynedd, North Wales (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

A view of the tourist village of Portmeirion in Gwynedd, North Wales (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

“We get school groups from England and when they leave they can say ‘bore da’, ‘prynhawn da’, ‘croese’. They love, hug.”

Zip World has three locations in North Wales, one of which is home to the fastest zipline in the world.

Mr. Roberts, from Portmeirion, the Italian tourist village, said: “We have always placed a strong emphasis on culture, tradition and language. Over 90% of the people working in Portmeirion speak Welsh.

“We believe that tourists who come to Portmeirion like to hear the language and like to hear that it is a vibrant and alive language.

“We think it could be used more, including using the term Cymru beyond Wales,” he added.

Penderyn Distillery produces Welsh malt whiskey in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons (PA) (PA Archive)

Penderyn Distillery produces Welsh malt whiskey in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons (PA) (PA Archive)

“As we’ve seen with the Welsh football team, they’ve really developed, on and off the pitch, their use of the Welsh language, and their use of Cymru has been a big factor in that.”

Companies have asked the Welsh government to increase its tourism budget, as it is a decentralized power, to improve communication about Wales’ identity and why people should visit.

Lewin, who runs the UK’s longest historic railway, said: “We don’t have a clear-cut proposal for Wales. And a brand for a country will need to be built on a common theme.

“On a day like today it’s screaming at us that what is common to all tourist attractions in Wales is the setting. It’s the wonderful surroundings, the wonderful scenery and how affordable it is compared to many other places.”

The Welsh Mountain Railway steam train at Beddgelert station running from Caernarfon to Beddgelert (PA) (PA file)

The Welsh Mountain Railway steam train at Beddgelert station running from Caernarfon to Beddgelert (PA) (PA file)

Penderyn boss Davies, who is soon to open a third distillery in Swansea and exports Welsh malt whiskey to more than 40 countries, said: “Actually, when you cross Severn Bridge, you don’t feel like you’re in a country that’s selling itself.

“There is a great opportunity to improve communication with visitors who come to Wales because they came here, they made the effort, we are going to keep them here or bring them back.

“And to sell a much more premium message to people who are thinking of coming but haven’t been here yet.”

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