The Welsh Labour Government has axed all marketing of Wales in two of the very few countries in the world which have direct transport links to Wales, it emerged today.
In 2008-09 the Welsh Government spent £121,000 promoting Wales to tourists in Spain and Ireland, yet not a penny has been spent in either country since 2010.
There are direct flights to Cardiff from seven airports in Spain, while Ireland has ferry links from Rosslare, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke.
Figures uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives show that the tourism marketing overseas budget almost halved last year from £2.6million in 2010-11 to £1.5million in 2011-12.
Suzy Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Heritage, said, “These figures suggest the Welsh Labour Government is missing a massive open goal in failing to market Wales to our closest overseas neighbours.
“It is easier to get from Spain or Ireland to Wales than from almost any other country in the world, yet the Welsh Government doesn’t spend a penny marketing Wales there.
“There are flights from seven different Spanish airports to Cardiff, while ferries to Ireland are daily from Pembroke, Fishguard and Holyhead.
“The Welsh Government’s budget for marketing Wales almost halved last year at a time of economic uncertainty when our tourist industry needs more overseas visitors.
“Wales is a beautiful country with so much to offer to overseas visitors, but this will go to waste unless we effectively showcase our nation to the world and tap into the tourist potential in countries with direct transport links to Wales.
“It would be more cost effective and beneficial to our economy for Labour Ministers to market Wales abroad properly than write a blank cheque to buy Cardiff Airport.
“The Welsh Government should re-examine its tourism marketing budget to ensure that we are maximising the potential of overseas tourism in each country in Europe and beyond.”