First Minister Visits Saundersfoot to Celebrate Welsh Tourism

First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured above) enjoyed an ice cream on Saundersfoot Harbour as he visited the impressive new Wales International Coastal Centre that will fully open in 2023.

The First Minister visited the picturesque harbour as the latest figures are published today showing 75% of Welsh tourism businesses saw an increase or maintained visitor levels over the May half-term.

The Wales Tourism Business Barometer shows visitor numbers were up 25% compared with pre-pandemic levels, with restaurants, pubs and cafés enjoying a busy Jubilee bank holiday weekend as 38% of hospitality businesses experienced more customers than usual.

Speaking from the harbour, which has received more than £5.7 million from the Welsh Government backed by EU funding, the First Minister said: “It’s wonderful to visit stunning Saundersfoot and see the impressive new Wales International Coastal Centre.

“Wales is a place of world-class adventures, from the best mountain biking in Britain to the first inland surf lagoon in the world to outstanding natural landscapes and creative culture. And in the year in which we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our trailblazing Wales Coast Path it’s wonderful to see the innovative developments taking place in Saundersfoot. I encourage people from across Wales and further afield to get out and explore a new corner of Wales over the summer.”

While there are encouraging signs of strength in the sector, there are concerns about the rising cost of living and people being able to afford going on holiday. Meanwhile, businesses are experiencing significant rises in operating costs, without wanting to pass increases onto customers over fears of pricing themselves out of the market.

The First Minister added: “It’s great that Wales’ tourism businesses were buoyed by the Jubilee bank holiday boost, but this is a worrying time for the sector, with rising inflation, increasing operating costs and staffing challenges.

“We will do all we can to make sure Wales has a successful summer season. Our vision for Wales is to grow tourism for the good of Wales, which means working with communities, visitors and businesses to achieve sustainable growth for tourism.”

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health, and blogs at

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