BASC’s promotion of shooting and conservation in Wales was praised at a cross-party group meeting aimed at boosting rural tourism.
Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, was among six Welsh Assembly members at the meeting in Cardiff Bay.
He heard guest speakers tell the group, which also included representatives from Visit Wales and the British Hospitality Association, that shooting already made a substantial contribution to tourism in the Principality.
Angela Burns AM, chair of the cross-party group for shooting and conservation, said: “It is the goal to raise levels of knowledge within the National Assembly about the value of shooting in Wales.
“I believe this demonstrated just how important shooting is, not only to active stakeholders but to the community beyond. It is through the good work of organisations like BASC that serious issues are brought to light and potentially addressed by the government in Wales for our future generations.”
The focus of this meeting was ‘How to boost tourism income in rural Wales’ and paid particular attention to raising the overseas profile of Wales as a prime shooting destination. It featured a presentation from Gwyn Evans of Bettws Hall, the largest commercial shoot in Wales. He explained that visitors already travel from around the world to experience shooting in Wales and this has knock-on benefits for the economy and employment in the wider community.
Anthony Rosser, of the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, then told delegates how the shooting season provides year-long benefits for staff retention and boosts his planning for the summer tourist season.
“Shooting is part of the tapestry of Wales,” Mr Rosser said, “and deserves to be recognised as such in both Wales and the wider world.”
The group also heard from Andrew Grainger, of the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, who explained how his colleagues operate to improve shooting’s links with tourism north of the border.
The group agreed to explore how Visit Wales might help existing shooting groups to lure more oversees visitors to Wales.
Gary Ashton, BASC Wales director, said “The guest speakers gave the minister and other members an insight to the broad benefits shooting already brings to rural Wales. By working more closely together, as Scotland have chosen to do through the creation of Country Sports Tourism Group, we can generate more interest in Wales as a shooting destination for overseas visitors.“
Jono Garton, BASC Council member for Wales, said: “Shooting is an important part of the Welsh countryside. It brings tourists to Wales and provides jobs and supports the rural economy. This cross-party group is doing important work in raising the sport’s profile even further afield.”