Minister introduces new beaches website and coast app
Wales’s fantastic coastline will now be far easier to discover following the introduction of Keep Wales Tidy’s new beaches website and a smart phone app for the coast which will be presented by John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, in Kenfig on Wednesday 19 June 2013.
The event will take place at 11.30 at the Prince of Wales Inn, a business venue located near the Wales Coast Path and the spectacular Kenfig National Nature Reserve (NNR) on the South Wales coast and neighbouring Rest Bay, a recently awarded Blue Flag beach. website and app have been developed by the environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with funding for the website from Visit Wales’ Coastal Tourism project which includes backing from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and other financial support for the development of the app from Visit Wales and Natural Resources Wales.
The website contains detailed information on 150 beaches including: how to get there, the awards they hold, the facilities such as toilets, car parks and lifeguards, as well as the nearby wildlife and historical attractions. This is the first time that this level of detailed and comprehensive information has been collected for Welsh beaches.
The app contains all the information in the website as well, as the route and gradient of the Wales Coast Path, live weather links and tide timetables. Because the smart phone knows the user’s location, the app can also find the nearest beach and allow the user to search for the facilities they are looking for.
The Minister commented: “These two products from Keep Wales Tidy will boost the recreational use of the coast, one of Wales’s greatest treasures which can only be a good thing for the economy and tourist industry. This is a good example of the strength of partnership and I’m sure that this will be a basis for bringing even more information together to showcase our stunning coastline to local people and visitors alike.”
Dan Clayton Jones, Chair of the Wales Tourism Advisory Board, who will attend the launch, adds: “Figures from the Great Britain Tourism survey 2012 show that overnight visitors to the coastline and beaches of Wales spent £572 million. Quality tourist information delivered before and after arriving at a destination, in a format which is useful to the visitor, is key in enabling a visitor to make the most of a particular destination. Digital solutions such as these can add real value to a visitor’s experience.”
The importance of the Wales Coast Path was further emphasised by Emyr Roberts, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales: “The app will help highlight some of the excellent recreational opportunities that are available for people in Wales and the visitors who come to explore. The Wales Coast Path showcases the diversity of the landscape and habitats of Wales, from the urban environments to the vast countryside, linking up our nation.”
The launch at Kenfig will introduce the iOS version of the app, and Android versions will also be available within a few weeks. Both the beaches website and app are fully bilingual.
Future improvements to the website and app are already being planned in partnership with Visit Wales, Natural Resources Wales and other partners.
Keep Wales Tidy is looking forward to highlighting the wildlife, history and culture that can be seen, and through working closely with Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water and Wales Wildlife Trust to provide more up to date information on water quality. Keep Wales Tidy’s Ambassador Tom Shanklin adds: “I’m always aware of how lucky I am to live in Wales because in my opinion we have the best beaches in the world. The beaches website and app developed by Keep Wales Tidy are really useful tools and will provide visitors with everything for their trip to the seaside. I will certainly be using them this summer!”
The beaches website can be found at Welsh Beaches.
The Wales Coast app can be presented at the event and available to download shortly afterwards.