Rugged, stunning and the springboard for days of adventure – that’s the beauty of the Welsh coast. Four years ago it was opened up to the world when Wales became the first country in the world to create a dedicated footpath along its entire coastline. And now, the effect that the Wales Coast Path has had on the country’s economy. Walkers spent £84m in Wales in 2014 and supported more than 1,000 jobs.
From strolls to the whole path
A new report, written by Beaufort Research and Cardiff Business School, found that 43 million day visits to the Welsh coast during 2014 included walking as an activity. It included anything from a short stroll to people completing the whole path.
A face-to-face survey of 1,483 groups was conducted. It found 61% of them were visiting on day trips from home while the remaining 39% were staying away from home for one or more nights. The majority of visits were made by people living in Wales (59%). The number of visitors from England was 38% and the remainder from elsewhere.
'Improving health and wellbeing'
The report was commissioned by Natural Resources Wales. It works in partnership with 16 coastal local authorities and two National Parks – Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia – to manage and maintain the path, with funding from the Welsh Government.
Welsh Government cabinet secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said:
“It is no exaggeration to say that Wales has some of the most stunning coastline in the UK. It is extremely encouraging to hear that so many people are taking advantage of the opportunities provided by our coast".
"By maximising the opportunities for tourism and recreation we are providing the Welsh economy with a welcome boost and, in turn, helping people improve their health and wellbeing.”
She added that she was proud that the Wales Coast Path, which was created in 2012, had “undoubtedly helped more people to enjoy our coast and contributed to these impressive figures”.
Quentin Grimley, Coastal Access Project Officer at Natural Resources Wales welcomed the report’s results.
He said: “It’s good to see so many local people and visitors exploring Wales’ magnificent coastline.
“The spectacular Welsh coastline offers walkers numerous options. There are strenuous walks along towering cliffs and rugged headlands, to gentle strolls along sandy beaches or on the promenades of our famous seaside resorts.
“Linking them all is the 870-mile long Wales Coast Path which runs right around the country’s coast from Chester to Chepstow".
“Our environment is the most valuable natural asset we have and the Welsh coast is an example of this.”
Phillip Dewey, 06:00, 12 December 2016