FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford visited Conwy Castle to mark an Easter boom in tourism.

He came to Conwy because the Castle saw the biggest increase in visitor numbers over Easter, and this trend was reflected in a report that 85 per cent of tourist businesses in Wales saw an increase or maintained visitor levels over Easter.

North Wales Pioneer: First Minister Mark Drakeford at Conwy Castle. Picture: Kerry RobertsFirst Minister Mark Drakeford at Conwy Castle. Picture: Kerry Roberts

Mr Drakeford said: “The tourism industry is very important in this part of Wales, and it has got off to a very good start this year.

He added: “Of all of CADW’s attractions Conwy had the biggest increase in visitor numbers over Easter and that is attributable to the very hard work of the people who run the attraction, but also to the intrinsic value it has. What has happened in Conwy has happened in other parts of Wales as well, but it has been happening even more here.”

Mr Drakeford noted Conwy’s success in attracting Japanese visitors, he said: “Japanese visitors to Wales are strongly up over the last 12 months or so and Conwy Castle has more Japanese visitors than any other attraction in Wales. That’s partly because there are flights into Manchester. But the twinning of Conwy with an attraction which is similar in Japan is absolutely designed to try and make sure people know about Wales, and the things that are worth coming to see. With the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, and Wales determined to do well there, this is a really good moment for us to be building on those links.”

Mr Drakeford added: “We think there is a strong case for a tourism tax, and that is best given as a power to those people who are closest to their local economies to design anything to suit those economies, the local authorities. This is because a tourism tax in this part of Wales would look very different, for example, to a tourism tax in a valley community, or Cardiff.”

He commented on the impact of Brexit: “Brexit cuts in both ways in the tourism industry. It is harder to attract people to come to the United Kingdom from the rest of Europe. But more people in the United Kingdom are staying locally for their holidays.”