Plaid Cymru to campaign for Wales to join European tourism scheme
Plaid MEP Jill Evans has launched a campaign for Wales to join a Europe-wide scheme to boost tourism.
Ms Evans is to meet Welsh Heritage Minister Alun Ffred to lobby that Wales be allowed to join the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) tourism programme.
At present only member states of the EU can join the scheme and the UK Government has chosen not to. Ms Evans wants Wales to be allowed to join up in its own right.
The scheme encourages sustainable tourism in lesser-known areas by holding national competitions in participating countries. Winning destinations are then promoted around the EU and join the Eden network, receiving help to become established tourist destinations.
The idea for the campaign came from a meeting with the Caerphilly Tourism Association organised by councillor Ron Davies, who is Plaid Cymru’s Assembly candidate for Caerphilly.
Ms Evans said: “Tourism is worth billions to the Welsh economy and we need to maximise Wales’ status with tourists. Wales has some beautiful and interesting destinations for tourists and, through EDEN, people across Europe would know more about them.
“Why should the UK Government stop us taking part when the European Commission would welcome us with open arms? Locations in Wales could join a Europe-wide network of that would help put on the map.”
Plaid Assembly candidate Ron Davies said: “In the past Wales would have been held back by decisions made in London. With many decisions now being made in Cardiff, instead of being held back we are able to push Wales forward. And of course, if we succeed in winning this ‘first’ for Wales, I will be promoting Caerphilly.”