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Over £417m a year - that's how much tourism is now worth to Swansea

TOURISM'S annual value to the Swansea Bay economy has topped the £417m mark for the first time.

Surfing

New figures show visitors spent £417.85m throughout 2017 in Swansea Bay - a 1.7% increase on 2016.

The STEAM figures (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model) prepared for Swansea Council also show visitor numbers increased by 1% to 4.6m and that the tourism industry supports more than 5,700 jobs in the area. 

Encouragingly, serviced accommodation occupancy levels are increasing, with 2017 figures showing an average occupancy of over 70% - higher than the Wales average. 

Council tourism marketing activity has focused on targeting visitors in spring and autumn/winter - when tourism operators are traditionally less busy. This has paid dividends as visitor spend has demonstrated a cumulative increase over the past 11 years of up to 3.6% in those seasons.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's cabinet member for culture, tourism and major projects, said: "Tourism continues to pump more than £400m into the Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower economy every year. 

"This demonstrates the economic value of a sector that also supports so many jobs.

"The successful results are a reflection of the collective and collaborative way that the sector works locally - including the private, public and third sectors. 

"The council will continue to work closely alongside local tourism businesses and other organisations and play our part in continuing to improve the quality and attractiveness of our fabulous home as a visitor destination. 

"We're determined to give people more reasons to visit and to maintain this momentum into the peak summer season of 2018 and beyond, we will enjoy the biggest line-up of events, as Swansea becomes this summer's biggest stage for events in the UK."

This year, the council's tourism marketing team is running a Year of the Sea marketing campaign, encouraging visitors to enjoy a holiday or short break in the area.

Swansea Bay has a diverse range of watersports - including surfing and stand-up paddleboarding, the Gower Coast Path, the National Waterfront Museum, globally renowned award winning beaches and a rich coastal heritage.

The council - with support from local tourism businesses - has produced a new Year of the Sea magazine, with 100,000 being distributed across Swansea, Mumbles, Gower and key gateway locations outside the area.

Other marketing activities include outdoor media, PR and digital marketing campaigns resulting in national and regional press coverage both on and offline.

Further boosts will come from the excitement of planned developments such as a transformed, greener city centre, with 3,500-capacity digital arena, a Penderyn Whisky visitor centre and one of the most eye-catching tourist attractions in the UK - a cable car ride, toboggan rides, zip wire rides, a restaurant and event venue on Kilvey Hill.

This year, Swansea also has an impressive line-up of major events including BBC Music's Biggest Weekend, the annual Wales Airshow - which attracted 250,000 visitors last year, the annual Admiral Swansea Bay 10k and September's large-scale theatrical event of Now the Hero. 

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Note

Swansea Council uses STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model) to monitor the scale of tourism and trends in Swansea Bay.  This model is also used by the majority of other local authorities/destinations in Wales.

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