The Welsh authorities desires extra overseas vacationers. So a lot so, that they just lately put out a name for concepts about easy methods to appeal to them.
The answer that my colleagues and I’ve put ahead is easy – Wales ought to embrace their dragons and their legends and use them because the nation’s distinctive promoting level. Wales ought to turn into “the land of dragons and legends”.
As somebody with a Welsh household on my husband’s aspect, Wales has all the time been one in every 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 bear in mind the large smile on my son’s face when he lastly managed to drag out a huge 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.
What are 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 provide. Unlike, as an illustration, 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, on account of 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 without doubt one of the solely two nations on the earth that has a dragon on its nationwide flag – believed to presumably be the oldest flag nonetheless in use The different being Bhutan. Wales’ attachment to its dragon, the Y Ddragi Goch (the Welsh purple dragon), is fairly sturdy. Over the years, varied tales have been instructed concerning the purple 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, linked the dragon with Arthurian legends. One such connection consists of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, and one other to the prophecy by the warlock Merlin of a combat between a purple and white dragon, symbolising the historic wrestle between the Welsh (purple dragon) and the English (white dragon).
Today, the Welsh purple dragon symbolises the fierce delight of the Welsh individuals.
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 novel promoting level to model and differentiate Wales towards different UK nations when selling tourism to worldwide vacationers.
Following the success of fantasy and journey motion pictures and TV collection, similar to 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 suppose 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 smart to make use of these legendary cultural symbols to model Wales as “The Land of Dragons and Legends”. This is a chance that can not 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 will not be an train that should begin from scratch. References to Wales’ Red Dragon, the good magician of Merlin and the well-known King Arthur are already being made by Visit Wales, though their visibility ought to be additional improved.
For instance, by creating a selected touchdown web page devoted to dragons and legends below 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 embody tourism web sites, social media campaigns and hashtags, similar to #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 might additionally gear up in the direction of the promotion of dragons and legends. For instance, by curating and dedicating museum exhibitions on dragons; by organising dragon walks and Merlin’s trails round cities and coastal traces, which might hyperlink cultural and pure tourism choices in a single.
Also, artistic theme parks or organised tourism actions might discuss with standard motion pictures or TV collection, providing unforgettable experiences. 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 might be used to enchantment to kids and households via choices similar to magic workshops and potion classes in these areas. Similarly, movies similar to First Knight, which was shot in Gwynedd, North Wales, might be used to advertise jousting experiences or excursions linked to the Arthurian legends in areas they had 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 provide, on prime of its lovely landscapes and outside adventures.
Dorothy Yen doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.