The tourism sector in Wales is seeing increased activity across the board with leisure parks, hotels and pubs in buoyant mood.
Sector specialists Colliers International have reported widespread improvements across the Principality, with major investment into some of the region’s major tourist parks being matched by renewed interest in smaller operations such as pubs and hotels.
Colliers International has just completed development monitoring work on a £1.1m investment in new leisure facilities at Croft Holiday Park tucked away in the countryside between Narberth and Tenby.
The project involved the refurbishment of the existing bar / restaurant and construction of a new state of the art salt water health spa at the park - part of the Celtic Parks group.
John Osborn of Colliers Building Consultancy Bristol office said: "The development now provides a unique health spa facility in West Wales, which is sure to increase visitors and compliment the many tourist attractions nearby such as Oakwood and Folly Farm."
The company has also been working closely with the nearby Bluestone National Park Resort which is now trading well and poised for expansion.
Leisure parks specialist Ben Jones said since opening in 2008 the park had increased its accommodation stock from 220 to 280 luxury accommodation units - with a further phase of 100 eco style lodges planned on the back of high occupancy.
He said: “The existing accommodation is a mix of lodges, cottages and studio apartments and occupancy is underpinned by the excellent facilities meaning that there is always something to do, come rain or shine, throughout the year.
“The continued investment in Bluestone shows confidence in the Welsh tourism sector and confirms demand for a high quality resort product in West Wales. It also shows the importance of providing high quality accommodation and extensive wet weather facilities to overcome the vagaries of the Welsh climate.
“Another factor in its success is the fact Bluestone adopts a very positive and pro-active pricing policy to ensure that customers receive excellent value for money during these challenging economic times.”
At the other end of the tourism spectrum hotels Director Peter Brunt continues to achieve headline sales signing off three major deals in as many weeks at Slebech Park in Pembrokeshire, the Llanwenarth Hotel near Abergavenny and the Dragon Hotel in Montgomery.
He has also agreed a sale at the Three Horseshoes at Cenarth well in excess of the asking price after massive interest from would-be buyers.
Peter said: “We had people queuing around the block to take a look at the Three Horseshoes in Cenarth. It’s situated between the famous Cenarth Falls and a number of popular holiday parks and makes the most of its commanding position overlooking the River Teifi.
“As well as being located on a key holiday route its main advantage is the sheer number of attractions in the immediate area which guarantee good footfall. But that qualification applies to any number of pubs and hotels in Wales, many of which are unique and special one way or another.”
Head of office Tim Davies said the marked improvement in business performance and confidence was evident across the spectrum.
He said: “We’ve had a great season and many owners and operators have been surprised and relieved at just how quickly their prospects have been turned around. We’ve had lots of buyers after the pick of the properties like the Three Horseshoes and many have had to go home disappointed. Clearly people are returning to the market in numbers and they are ready to spend again.
“Two years ago we had large amounts of small medium and large leisure properties on the market across Wales – it seemed nobody dared to talk about the downturn for fear of making things worse.
“Now we’re seeing clear signs buyers are returning to the market and owners have finally got something to shout about.
“The fact many attractions are ensuring they have adequate wet weather facilities in place helps ensure Wales is kept open for business – whatever the weather.”
Colliers International’s optimistic forecast coincides with a similarly positive assessment from Welsh Tourism which reported that 57 per cent of Welsh leisure businesses reported that they had received more guests or visitors this August compared to 12 months ago.
Almost a third of Wales’ major tourist attractions reported an increase in visitor numbers.
Tim Daves commented: “Wales was not the only place in the UK to enjoy a bit of sunshine this summer but when you factor in the significant investment into facilities we have seen recently it’s no surprise customer confidence is improving.”