The Wales Way was launched in November 2017. This new family of national routes lead you on great journeys through our country. The Coastal Way 180-mile / 290km) travels the west coast around Cardigan Bay, a road-trip between the sea and mountains. The Cambrian Way (185 miles / 300km) journeys between Llandudno and Cardiff, through National Parks and big spaces. The North Wales Way (75 miles / 120km) leads past mighty 13th century castles into the Isle of Anglesey.
New travel trade friendly itineraries highlighting these routes are available.
Year of the Sea 2018
Visit Wales’ themed years continue in 2018 with Year of the Sea and will follow with Year of Discovery in 2019. Discover new epic experiences on the shores of Wales. The 870-mile Wales Coast Path passes seascapes of breath-taking variety, hundreds of beaches, harbours, inlets and islands. Or follow the rivers upstream to the inland shores of our lakes and reservoirs. A warm Welsh welcome, a unique culture, the finest food and drink... this is the greatest coastal experience of 2018.
The Rough Guide names Wales as one of the best places in the world to visit in 2018, ranking above Cuba, Russia, New Orleans and Chile. It describes Wales as “a magical landscape harbouring jagged peaks, theatrically sited castles, lush valleys and an epic coastline”.
A Groups Guide to Wales 2017/18 has been published by Beau Business Media, in partnership with Visit Wales. It gives the UK groups market information to inspire and help source, plan and book short breaks and tours to Wales.
On 22nd October 2017, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet set off from Alicante, Spain on a race around the world, visiting 12 cities touching six continents – and for the first time in its history the race will stop in Cardiff, from 27 May to 10 June 2018. The Volvo Ocean Race festival site, the Race Village, will be located on the scenic Cardiff Bay Barrage. The two week free event will host a variety of entertainment and Volvo Ocean Race-themed attractions. It will also have a Welsh flavour, with Welsh producers offering locally-sourced food and drink.
Qatar Airways has launched direct daily flights to Cardiff commencing 1 May 2018, making the award-winning airline the first Gulf carrier to service Wales and southwest England.
In 2018 St Fagans National Museum of History is celebrating 70 years since it opened to the public. 2017 saw the opening of the new welcome building with shop, café and centre for learning with activity spaces and a lecture theatre. The new Gweithdy celebrates the skills of makers offering courses and craft workshops and houses an additional new café. In October 2018, new galleries will open in the Main Building and Gweithdy, combining National Museum Wales’ history and archaeology collections for the first time. The range of objects on display will cover a 240,000 year time span including items from the collection which have never been on display before. Llys Llywelyn, one of the courts of the Princes of Gwynedd, will also be completed in October 2018. The reconstruction of the great hall from Llys Llywelyn in Anglesey, built around 1200. Once completed, schools from across Wales will, for the first time, be able to stay overnight at the Museum. Free entry.
Re-opening of Yr Ysgwrn home of Welsh legend ‘Hedd Wyn’ - a traditional Welsh farmhouse in Snowdonia, home of Eisteddfod winning poet ‘Hedd Wyn’ has recently opened to the public. This £3million project ensures it retains its charm and quirkiness with improved visitor facilities.
Real Wales Tours are offering new walking package tours for 2018 focusing on the Wales Coast Path during the Year of the Sea. Bookings are now being taken.
Over the next 4 years there will be a £15m part EU funded Tourism Attractor Destination project in Caernarfon which includes a new Welsh Highland Railway station, due to open summer 2018. A further development known as ‘The Island Site’ is an equally important part of this plan, adding to the visitor experience by connecting the WHR terminus, the castle and town. It will include retail, catering and a spacious modern interpretation area showcasing the history of the quayside area and railway.
Aber Falls Distillery Visitor Centre will be opening in summer 2018. It will be the first whisky distillery in North Wales for 100 years. The Visitor Centre will offer distillery tours, master classes and lab experiences, as well as giving you the opportunity to sample and purchase from the range of premium quality spirits. Aber Falls gins and liqueurs will be made available in November this year, with whisky ready for sale from 2020.
The Blondin Restaurant at Zip World Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, has opened featuring a menu by celebrity chef, Bryn Williams with a combination of indoor and outdoor terrace seating overlooking the fastest zip line in the world. There is also a gallery offering a private function space for up to 60 delegates. Zip World now offers 11 unique adventures in 3 stunning locations in north Wales.
Llanover Garden, near Abergavenny, is a private 18th century garden surrounding the birthplace of Lady Llanover in 1802 and opens to the public on special open days for charity. However, they welcome groups of 15-45 by prior arrangement from late March to end of October and offer a guided tour or a day course, free entry for coach driver and guide, free parking and catering options. They also offer a programme of talks.
A Castle, a Cruise and a Cream Tea - Cardiff Castle has launched a new bookable product combining a visit to Cardiff Castle, a river cruise and an indulgent cream tea at he iconic Norwegian Church. The package is available for groups of 20 or more at £30 p.p. To book call +44(0) 29 2087 8100. For more information on Cardiff visit the website.
Mid Wales Tourism has upgraded and re-launched its website. It includes a section to help groups plan their stay, itinerary and accommodation in this area that stretches between the Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks.
Giant Hospitality’s collection is expanding and they now have 6 hotels in Wales – Caer Rhun Hall, The Llandudno Bay Hotel, Belmont Llandudno and The Queen’s Hotel in North Wales with Fourcroft Hotel and Fishguard Bay Hotel in West Wales. Caer Rhun Hall is currently being refurbished and there are plans to refurbish Fourcroft Hotel and Fishguard Bay Hotel later this year. Selected hotels offer free accommodation and dinner for drivers (groups 20 plus) or free accommodation and dinner for driver and tour guide (groups 40 plus).
St Davids Hotel & Spa – refurbishment
Cardiff’s 5-star hotel, The St David’s Hotel & Spa, is currently being refurbished. Its new contemporary restaurant and bar with views over Cardiff Bay features an Australasian and Asia-Pacific menu, complemented by an extensive drinks menu with some Welsh twists. The next phase is the lobby and spa which is due to be completed by February 2018 and the bedroom refurbishment by spring 2018.
Hotel Indigo, a new 122 room 4-star boutique hotel is opening soon in Cardiff and features the UK’s second rooftop Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill. This hotel is suitable for luxury FITs.
The International Convention Centre Wales at Celtic Manor Resort is due to open in June 2019 and is now taking bookings. It will include a 1,500-seat auditorium and separate exhibition hall which, at 4,000 square meters, will provide the largest pillar-free ballroom in Europe, capable of hosting 2,400 people for a gala dinner.
BritAgent - overseas based operators can become a Wales expert and learn more about planning their clients holidays to Wales.
You can download a Microsoft Word version of the new product updates for Wales over the last year here:
Travel Trade Wales Product Update - February 2018
Travel Trade Wales Product Update - November 2017