Discover Your Wales had a slow start from the initial idea to opening as an operating business – but all good things come to those who wait.
I wanted to tell you a bit about Discover Your Wales. I first thought of the “idea” behind Discover Your Wales somewhere near the tail end of 2014. Having worked almost 10 years in hospitality and nearly 5 years focusing on holiday lettings, I felt that there was a lot to be done to aid the tourism industry in Wales. I noticed that there were a fair few constraints with advertising with the larger agencies, such as exclusive advertising rights and really high commission rates, usually over 15% and up to 25%. Where I was working at the time, I started looking into other agencies to advertise their holiday cottages and realised rather quickly that instead of working together to improve the tourism industry in Wales, there was a lot of negative comments and a general “we’re only working for ourselves” attitude.
So, Discover Your Wales was born – I chose the name early in 2015. I wanted a name that appealed to the visitors of Wales, each and everyone of whom are unique and different in their expectations, their hobbies and their ideas. I felt that the name “Discover Your Wales” left Wales as an open playing field, for visitors to come and literally discover what makes this country special for them. I have spoken to many people who love Wales and have fond memories such as exploring Snowdonia during wet camping holidays, and who return year on year to do the same again. Others come to Wales for the adventure activities we have on offer, while others come to enjoy the tranquil beaches to the south. I wanted a name that suggests you can choose your holiday accommodation through this agency, and we’ll help you as a visitor to discover the perfect Wales for you. A Wales that you will have fond memories of in 30, maybe 50 years time.
With that in mind, I realised that Discover Your Wales needed to incorporate the whole range of activities and attractions Wales has to offer to its visitors – to provide a platform for visitors to book their holidays, and plan their time here as well. This was another aspect of the tourism industry that I felt was lacking in cohesion, and I hope as Discover Your Wales grows, it will become a well used platform for tourists to use to plan their time with us.
Having lived in North Wales for 18 years before moving to Aberystwyth, it was also important to consider creating a bilingual agency, and so “Canfod Eich Cymru” was penned and will allow us to offer a fully bilingual service, both online and on the phone and emails.
I feel incredibly lucky to be living in such a beautiful part of the world, and really excited that I can help share the lovely properties and show Wales off to more people. It is time for us to work together as an industry to increase visitors to Wales, and to make Wales a fantastic and talked about destination not only in the United Kingdom, but also in Europe. We have something to offer every type of person, and we need to shout about it. I don’t want to force property owners to high commission rates, exclusive rights, owner booking penalities or pre-designed pricing plans. I want to ensure that the wealth of accommodation, activities and attractions in Wales become well known.
Let’s get Wales clearly on the destination map.