The Welsh authorities needs extra overseas vacationers. So a lot so, that they just lately put out a name for concepts about methods to entice them.
The resolution 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 grow to be “the land of dragons and legends”.
As somebody with a Welsh household on my husband’s facet, Wales has all the time been one among 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 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.
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 supply. 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, as a result 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 among the solely two international locations on this planet 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 crimson dragon), is fairly sturdy. Over the years, varied tales have been informed in regards to the crimson dragon with the earliest courting again to AD655.
In Historia Regum Britanniae, written between 1120 and 1129, Geoffrey of Monmouth, one of many main figures within the improvement 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 crimson and white dragon, symbolising the historic battle between the Welsh (crimson dragon) and the English (white dragon).
Today, the Welsh crimson dragon symbolises the fierce pleasure 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 films and TV sequence, 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 possibility for Wales to capitalise on its current affiliation with dragons and legendary figures. Wales could 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’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 this planet.
Tactics to extend the connection
This just isn’t an train that should begin from scratch. References to Wales’ Red Dragon, the nice magician of Merlin and the well-known King Arthur are already being made by Visit Wales, though their visibility needs 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 and marketing 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 improvement may additionally gear up in 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 may seek advice from well-liked films or TV sequence, providing unforgettable experiences. For instance, the BBC sequence Merlin was partly filmed in Wales in spots together with the Brecon Beacons National Park, Castell Coch, Caerphilly and Chepstow Castle. The present may very well be used to enchantment to kids and households by means of choices reminiscent of magic workshops and potion classes in these areas. Similarly, movies reminiscent of First Knight, which was shot in Gwynedd, North Wales, may very well be used to advertise jousting experiences or excursions linked to the Arthurian legends in areas they had been shot.
In this manner, 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 high 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 may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.