NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales, is pleased to hear that a new grading scheme is to be introduced to measure visitor’s experiences in Wales.

Mr Hamilton, Party Spokesman for Culture, was commenting after it was announced that new Quality Assurance measures are being introduced, following a review by national tourism organisations of Wales, England, Scotland & Northern Ireland and the AA.

The revised guidelines will ensure that Quality Assurance Schemes remain relevant and informative, as well as supporting businesses and consumers in a globally changing and competitive marketplace.

Mr Hamilton said: “Tourism trends are changing all the time and it is essential these are regularly reviewed and acted upon. Wales is one of the most beautiful parts of the world with glorious scenery and diverse attractions to suit all tastes.    It is vital to the Welsh economy that the quality of the tourists visits are taken into account to ensure return visits and strong recommendations to others.

“More and more people go online to book, review and find accommodation and attractions and businesses need to ensure they maximize the positive feed-back from guests on their experiences.

“I am pleased to see the hospitality industry and tourism businesses in Wales will be getting the support they need to compete in today’s crowded marketplace.”

During a recent visit to Mid Wales, Tourism Minister, Lord Elis-Thomas underlined the importance of quality to the development and delivery of the tourism experience in Wales.

He said quality was integral to the future success of tourism in Wales and urged accommodation businesses to join Visit Wales’ Quality Assurance Schemes.

The revised guidelines are due to be rolled out by Visit Wales, this month, along with the new criteria for the serviced and self-catering sectors.

As part of the change in the Quality Assurance approach, new signs and materials will be phased in to enable businesses to showcase their quality star-rating to guests. The suite of new materials, which have been updated to reflect the award-winning Cymru Wales brand style, include new starred plaques; contemporary certificates; and digital badges and logos.

Businesses do not need to request the new materials – they will be issued and introduced over the summer; and customers are advised to look out for the Draig Goch logo on hotels, B&Bs, guest and bunk-houses when they book, as a trusted mark of quality.

Adrian Barsby, Wales Tourism Alliance Chair, said increased emphasis on the experience as opposed to the material facilities is in line with today’s customer expectations

“Given the seismic changes we have seen over the last ten years, to the way our customers research and book their holidays or short breaks, we welcome this much awaited review and enhancement of the Quality Assurance scheme.

“Whilst we all recognise the customer is increasingly relying on previous visitors reviews online, these do not give the same assurance as the expertise provided by a dedicated Visit Wales tourism professional. The QA scheme is there to provide that additional baseline re-assurance to the prospective customer that they are making the right choice.”

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