Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Wales Tourist Board


  1.  The Wales Tourist Board (WTB) is the statutory lead body for tourism in Wales established under the Development of Tourism Act 1969. WTB has specific responsibility:

    —  to encourage people to visit Wales and people living in Wales to holiday there;

    —  to encourage the provision and improvement of tourist amenities and facilities in Wales.

  The Tourism (Overseas Promotion) (Wales) Act 1992 subsequently gave WTB increased independence to market Wales overseas.

  The Government of Wales Act 1998 transferred the functions and powers of the Secretary of State for Wales under the above Acts to the National Assembly for Wales.

  The mission of WTB:

  To improve the economic and social prosperity of Wales through the effective marketing and development of tourism.

  2.  This memorandum of written evidence will concentrate on examining the economic (short/long term) impact of the Rugby World Cup tournament in 1999 which was hosted by the Welsh Rugby Union.


  3.  Tourism is one of the most important industries in Wales. Overnight visitors to Wales contributed over £1.4 billion in direct visitor spending to the Welsh economy in 1999, over 80 per cent of which was generated by visitors from within the UK. Day trips generated an estimated additional spend of £775 million. In total, therefore, spending by overnight and day visitors is worth some £2.1 billion to the Welsh economy—equivalent to 7 per cent of GDP.

  4.  It is an industry dominated by small independent operators but supports up to 100,000 jobs directly and indirectly in Wales—more than 10 per cent of the workforce.


  5.  A 10 year national tourism strategy for Wales Achieving Our Potential was launched by the First Secretary in April 2000. Prepared by WTB, in consultation with the industry, Achieving Our Potential is the third in a sequence of medium term strategies. It sets out to identify the most effective response to the main strategic challenges which are likely to confront the tourism industry in Wales during the period 2000-10.

  6.  The 49 action points identified in Achieving Our Potential seek to provide an effective response to a range of strategic issues. Extending the tourism season in Wales remains a key strategic challenge for the future. Sport has the potential to play a more significant role in support of the tourism industry in Wales. Sporting events, for example, can play a key role in attracting larger numbers of overseas visitors and in developing new markets within the UK throughout the year. As well as their potential for extending the tourism season, sporting events are equally important in terms of raising the profile of Wales and reinforcing a distinctive and attractive brand for Wales. The WTB will be working with partners to develop a national events/festivals strategy for Wales to ensure a wider distribution of tourism activity throughout the year and to examine opportunities for developing packages linking events with accommodation and transport.

  7.  WTB fully endorses the objectives of the British Tourist Authority's Sports Tourism Strategy which seeks to maximise the potential of sport for inbound tourism to Britain. WTB will continue to work closely with the BTA and other partners to further develop the tourism potential of staging major sporting (and cultural) events in the future. To this end, the WTB have played a full part in preparing the bid for Wales to host the Ryder Cup in 2009.


  8.  Wales has many enduring strengths which will continue to form the basis of its distinctive character and appeal as a tourist destination but on a global scale, tourism is becoming more competitive. Awareness of Wales in many overseas markets, however, remains variable and the lack of strong, identifiable icon images put Wales at some disadvantage relative to competing destination areas, particularly in new, emerging markets for the UK. Even within the UK, it has proved difficult for Wales to establish a clear national identity beyond its borders which is based on reality rather than myth. Raising the profile of Wales in domestic and overseas markets and establishing its distinctive identify as a different country and an attractive tourism destination area in the UK is seen as a priority in Achieving Our Potential. As host to the Rugby World Cup in Autumn 1999, Wales had a unique opportunity to promote a distinct image globally to increase awareness of Wales and to stimulate additional visits from the UK and overseas.



  9.  The Rugby World Cup (RWC) ranks as the fourth largest sporting event in the world on the basis of income generated and the number of spectators and viewers it attracts. It was the largest sporting event to take place anywhere in 1999. RWC took place during the five week period 1 October to 6 November 1999. The Welsh Rugby Union was the official host of the RWC tournament and had agreements with the four rugby unions for England, Ireland, Scotland and France to stage tournament matches in these countries. Wales hosted nine of the 41 games including the final as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

Role of the Wales Tourist Board in RWC

  10.  The WTB played a lead co-ordinating role in the marketing and promotion of the RWC tournament. Working closely with partner organisations, funding was made available from core budgets and from National Sector Challenge Programme (NSCP) and European Union ERDF Industrial South Wales Programme sources. In total, including private sector contributions, WTB expenditure in support of the RWC amounted to £1.97 million. Table 1 provides a best estimate of the partnership funding which was made available to support not only the marketing of the tournament but also the delivery of essential infrastructure including transportation, provision of information, community events, environmental improvements and community participation.

Table 1


Source (£'000)
Wales Tourist Board
Cardiff Bay Development Corp.
Cardiff Marketing Ltd
Welsh Development Agency
Arts Council of Wales
Tourism South and West Wales
Cardiff Airport Limited
Cardiff County Council
Wrexham County Council
"Public Sector" sub total
Rugby Solutions Limited[10]

  11.  In summary, a total of just over £7 million was spent in relation to the tournament. This includes almost £3 million of public sector funds, including NSCP, which was matched by £275,000 from the private sector and over £2.4 million from ERDF.

  12.  The WTB's marketing strategy set out to spread the benefits of the RWC tournament as widely as possible by encouraging visitors to travel to various parts of Wales during their stay. The RWC was seen as an opportunity to project a modern and attractive image of Wales to existing and new markets. The aim was to use the RWC to stimulate both short and long term benefits for Wales. In the short term, there was a need to maximise the number of visitors to the event and their associated spending levels; in the longer term it was hoped that the tournament would raise awareness levels of Wales and stimulate new or return visits, thereby securing lasting economic benefits for Wales.

Evaluation of the Rugby World Cup

  13.  As part of its bid for NSCP funds, WTB acknowledged a need to evaluate the impact of the RWC in Wales in order to demonstrate the competitive benefits which can be gained from the hosting of a large scale, international sporting event.

  14.  Independent consultants[11] were commissioned by WTB to co-ordinate a systematic programme of research before and during the RWC tournament. The research programme included a survey of spectators (1,100 interviews), interviews with tourism-related businesses, measurement of performance in a representative sample of tourism accommodation/attraction businesses and research into changing attitudes/perceptions of Wales in the UK and overseas markets.

Main Findings of Evaluation Research

  15.  The research programme supported a detailed analysis of the economic impact of the RWC on Wales and specifically on Cardiff, Llanelli and Wrexham, where the nine matches were played. In order to measure the net effect of the RWC on the economy it was necessary to strip away anything that was not directly attributable to it. Adjustments were made to account for the effects of additionality and displacement. Tourism multipliers were also taken into account to estimate the beneficial knock on effects of the expenditure generated by the RWC on the local, regional and Welsh economy. The application of a multiplier is used to reflect the inter dependence of various sectors of the economy. Money spent in any given area is likely to lead to further spending elsewhere.

  16.  The main findings of the research are set out below:

    —  Over 330,000 people visited Wales during a traditionally quiet tourism season. This level of activity stimulated an additional 480,000 bednights in Wales, over 60 per cent of which were spent in serviced accommodation.

    —  Residents of Wales comprised 66 per cent of total visitors, 13 per cent came from the rest of the UK and 21 per cent from abroad. 58 per cent of all overseas visitors were on their first trip to Wales.

    —  the RWC had a positive effect on room occupancy levels in serviced accomodation and led to an increase of up to 17 percentage points in room occupancy during November 1999 compared with the previous year.

    —  Tourism related businesses invested over £3 million in facility improvement and additional marketing which can be directly attributable to the RWC.

    —  Short term impact of the RWC on Welsh economy was in excess of £83 million:

Spectator expenditure£77.1 million
Media expenditure£1.7 million
Additional investment£4.4 million
  £83.2 million

    —  £75 million was estimated to be direct economic gain for Cardiff which hosted seven of the nine games played in Wales.

    —  There were clear indications of a higher propensity to visit Wales in the future. There was a discernible increase in the number of people who considered Wales "a dynamic and cosmopolitan place to visit". The economic benefit from return visits from the UK and overseas is estimated to range between £4.4 million to £15 million over the next five years.

    —  The public sector spent a total of just under £4.8 million in support of the RWC. Based on the expenditure generated the return to the public sector is approximately 1:17, which represents good value for money. This calculation excludes the expected longer term benefits arising from enhanced perceptions and increased awareness of Wales.

    —  Cardiff (and Wales) demonstrated to a global audience that it had the capacity to host a major international event successfully. This will increase the likelihood of future large scale events being held in Cardiff.

    —  Those who attended the RWC demonstrated very high levels of satisfaction with their experience. 98 per cent of all overseas visitors were either very satisfied (75 per cent) or satisfied (23 per cent) with their visit to Wales. Over 80 per cent of overseas visitors were likely to recommend Wales to friends/relatives.


  17.  There is compelling evidence that the RWC was a major economic success for Wales. In total, the event generated in the short term net additional benefit for Wales of £83.2 million. It also had a positive employment impact, stimulating 2,000 part time jobs during the tournament and longer hours for 4,000 jobs. A 1:17 public sector return on investment represents significant value for money.

  18.  The development of the "state of the art" Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was a key factor in ensuring the success of the RWC tournament. The £130 million costs of construction, however, have not been included in the impact calculations for RWC as it is difficult to reconcile whether the hosting of RWC was a benefit of developing the stadium or whether the development of the stadium was a benefit of hosting RWC.

  19.  In this context, it would seem to be important for new stadia to have multiple-use capabilities. Tourism destinations require a range of different events as part of their marketing portfolio. Consequently, there is value in stadia managers working in partnership with those responsible for destination marketing in order to maximise the real potential and economic benefits which could accrue from a well planned and co-ordinated events strategy. The increasing demand for short break holidays makes the role of major sporting events of increasing importance in realising the tourism potential of the UK and destinations within the UK.


  20.  It may be helpful to draw the attention of the Committee to the above report which has recently been published and is attached for their consideration[12]. The main purpose of the investigation was to learn from the initial use of the Millennium Stadium to maximise the potential for the future in relation to the economic, planning, transportation, marketing, leisure and tourism perspective.

December 2000

10   Rugby Solutions Limited was a non-profit making company established for the duration of the tournament and was effectively the tournament organiser. Back

11   Segal Quince Wicksteed and System Three. Back

12   Not printed. Back

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