The Welsh authorities desires extra international vacationers. So a lot so, that they not too long ago put out a name for concepts about the best way to entice them.
The resolution that my colleagues and I’ve put ahead is straightforward – Wales ought to embrace their dragons and their legends and use them because the nation’s distinctive promoting level. Wales ought to turn out to be “the land of dragons and legends”.
As somebody with a Welsh household on my husband’s facet, Wales has at all times been certainly one of our most cherished vacation locations, particularly when my son was younger. From its wealthy tradition and historical past, dynamic cities and scenic landscapes to its lovely shoreline, Wales has a lot to supply as a vacation vacation spot. I nonetheless keep in mind the massive smile on my son’s face when he lastly managed to tug out a big crab after hours of crab fishing in Aberystwyth.
But, regardless of Wales’ wealthy tourism providing, it’s unlikely to draw deep-pocketed vacationers from the likes of the US, China or Japan, because the nation lacks a particular affiliation with vacationer landmarks or cultural symbols, within the thoughts of worldwide vacationers.
Wales’ cultural points of interest
Britain’s cultural points of interest are the highest visiting motivation for worldwide vacationers, adopted by the number of locations on supply. Unlike, for example, London – with Big Ben, the Tower of London and the British Museum amongst different landmarks – or Scotland – with Edinburgh, the Highlands and the Loch Ness monster – Wales is much less well-known, attributable to its lack of distinctive options which might be unique to it.
Spending by vacationers in Scotland pre-COVID generated round £12 billion whereas in Wales generated £3.4 billion.
Yet Wales does have its distinctive cultural and historic heritage. Wales is among the solely two international locations on the earth that has a dragon on its nationwide flag – believed to probably be the oldest flag nonetheless in use The different being Bhutan. Wales’ attachment to its dragon, the Y Ddraig Goch (the Welsh pink dragon), is fairly sturdy. Over the years, numerous tales have been instructed concerning the pink dragon with the earliest relationship again to AD655.
In Historia Regum Britanniae, written between 1120 and 1129, Geoffrey of Monmouth, one of many main figures within the growth of British historiography (the research of the writing of historical past and of written histories) and the recognition of tales of King Arthur, related the dragon with Arthurian legends. One such connection contains Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, and one other to the prophecy by the warlock Merlin of a battle between a pink and white dragon, symbolising the historic battle between the Welsh (pink dragon) and the English (white dragon).
Today, the Welsh pink dragon symbolises the fierce delight of the Welsh folks.
None of the opposite UK nations can declare such a legendary cultural image because the dragon. Similarly, the legends of the highly effective warlock Merlin are additionally unique to Wales, in addition to many Arthurian legends. Wales’ dragon and the connection to Merlin current a singular promoting level to model and differentiate Wales in opposition to different UK nations when selling tourism to worldwide vacationers.
Following the success of fantasy and journey motion pictures and TV collection, reminiscent of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts, Game of Thrones and the Lord of the Rings, many locations have been placed on the map. And these are bankable connections – simply assume how enthusiastically New Zealand attracts on its connection to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Tourist numbers shot up 40% within the 5 years after the primary Lord of the Rings movie and the franchise continues to be an enormous draw. In truth, tourism round The Hobbit Trilogy accounted for US$772 million of worldwide vacationer receipts (£628 million) between 2013 and 2014.
This highlights a chance for Wales to capitalise on its present affiliation with dragons and legendary figures. Wales can be sensible to make use of these legendary cultural symbols to model Wales as “The Land of Dragons and Legends”. This is a chance that can’t be missed and would place Wales as the primary and solely nationwide vacation spot model that’s strongly related to the tales of mythic dragons and legends on the earth.
Tactics to extend the connection
This shouldn’t be an train that should begin from scratch. References to Wales’ pink dragon, the good magician of Merlin and the well-known King Arthur are already being made by Visit Wales, though their visibility must be additional improved.
For instance, by creating a selected touchdown web page devoted to dragons and legends beneath Visit Wales and by selling the tagline of the land of dragons and legends in all its tourism promotion and advertising actions, each on-line and offline. These embrace tourism web sites, social media campaigns and hashtags, reminiscent of #IloveWales, #Landofdragonsandlegends, vacationer data brochures, posters and signage round vacationer data centres and vacationer resorts. Promoting the identical message in all its tourism actions helps strengthen the affiliation worldwide vacationers’ have of Wales because the land of dragons and legends.
Future tourism growth may additionally gear up in the direction of the promotion of dragons and legends. For instance, by curating and dedicating museum exhibitions on dragon, and by organising dragon walks and Merlin’s trails round cities and coastal strains, which might hyperlink cultural and pure tourism choices in a single.
Also, artistic theme parks or organised tourism actions may check with widespread motion pictures or TV collection. For instance, the BBC collection Merlin was partly filmed in Wales in spots together with the Brecon Beacons National Park, Castell Coch, Caerphilly and Chepstow Castle. The present could possibly be used to attraction to kids and households by means of choices reminiscent of magic workshops and potion classes in these places. Similarly, movies reminiscent of First Knight, which was shot in Gwynedd, North Wales, could possibly be used to advertise jousting experiences or excursions related to the Arthurian legends in places they have been shot.
In this fashion, when worldwide vacationers are planning the place to go on vacation, they recall Wales as a land of dragons and legends, with a number of tourism values on supply, on prime of its lovely landscapes and out of doors adventures.
Dorothy Yen doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.