CONWY’S booming tourist trade is on course to break the billion pound industry ceiling.

In 2018, the county hit the significant milestone of £904 million according a STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) report.

The latest figures show a rise of £41m on the previous year – an increase of five percent – garnered from an impressive 9.39 million visitors last year - making it the most visited county in North Wales.

Comparatively Denbighshire - which also had a record-breaking year - topped the half a billion mark.

Cllr Goronwy Edwards, cabinet member for economic development at Conwy County Borough Council, said: “The figures are excellent, it’s really pleasing to see our fabulous tourism industry performing so well, and offering visitors what they clearly want.

“We’re delighted to welcome people to the county, and with visitor numbers second only to Cardiff nationally and top of the table in North Wales – we really do have something to celebrate.”

The success has capitalised on existing draws including established events, such as an established food and drink industry across the has county, adrenaline activities including Zipworld and Surf Snowdonia in the Conwy valley, UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Conwy Castle, Venue Cymru and the continued success of Colwyn Bay’s RGC.

In 2018 specifically, Conwy Town Council began the process of twinning the town’s castle with a similarly aged structure in the town of Himeji, and events such as singer Paloma Faith’s appearance at Access All Eirias and the BBC Proms in the Park Wales at Stadiwm Zip World, Eirias Park, brought in crowds to Colwyn Bay.

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Going forward, the Conwy Culture Centre is set to open this autumn and the local authority’s, ‘Conwy’s Destination Management Plan’ aims to build on strong foundations and attractions in adventure, heritage, food and drink and the natural environment in order to continue to grow the economic value of tourism.

However, while this year’s figures – due to be released in 2020 – could potentially be impacted by Jess Glynne’s cancelled Access All Eirias performance, the region will likely be further bolstered by Colwyn Bay being named HQ for the Wales Rally GB and Llandudno earning a top 10 spot from users in May.

While 2018’s growth would appear to show a tourist trade in rude health, the chair of the Llandudno Hospitality Association and proprietor of the Seabourne Hotel has responded cautiously to the report.

Mr Jones said: “The figures are certainly very positive, but we have to recognize that they don’t present the full picture. They don’t prove the health of the Llandudno’s trade overall across the year, particularly with the increased business pressures the industry is facing nationwide.

“While the Llandudno’s hotels are close to capacity every year during the six weeks of the summer holidays, that doesn’t guarantee trade for the town’s restaurants and cafes in the off season which need to be successful to continue attracting people back to stay as the ‘bedroom’ of North Wales and benefit all the other businesses in the county.

“What the report does show the amount of day visitors in Conwy and North Wales, but they aren’t the one’s who spend money and go on to visit other attractions.

“We need to keep investing Llandudno and a resort to keep people coming back in the good months, and harnessing trade from residents is equally important to North Wales’ continued success.”