Travel restrictions eased across Wales but Conwy businesses yet to benefit

TRAVEL restrictions have been lifted and Welsh tourists can visit the peaks of Snowdonia to the cliffs of Pembrokeshire – however holiday businesses in Conwy say it has not had much impact on their income.

The Welsh Government removed its ‘stay local’ rule to Wales-wide travel on Friday, March 26, which saw holiday parks in North Wales receive their first visitors of the year over the weekend. However the Easter period remains much quieter than usual with only a fraction of visitor numbers.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said travel from England will not be permitted until at least April 12.

David Jones, owner of Penrhyn Hall Caravan Park, in Penrhyn Bay, said: “We opened up last Saturday, only to people from Wales, and out of 150 vans we have only had about 15 people here and most have gone home after the weekend. It is a strange thing and I think the whole UK should have opened up at the same time.

“I’m glad that we are open but we missed so many months over the last year. We are open eight months a year, from March until october, so we are hoping that the UK Government and Welsh Government do open up soon.

“With Easter being now would have been absolutely flat out. We are missing out and the number of visitors at the moment is not going to make any difference at all.”

Geoff Mound, director of Lyons Holiday Park, which has a site in Penmaenmawr, said: “While it’s wonderful that Welsh residents can come and enjoy the delights on their doorstep for now, the majority of our owners and bookings demographics live in England. Thousands of our customers travel from Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and further afield to enjoy the delights of North Wales – but the restrictions imposed by the national government are halting this.

“We’re desperate to welcome back tourists not just in relation to our parks, but to revive the North Wales economy and bring some cash flow in.”

B&B owners have seen a slight rise in bookings for late spring and the summer but some are still unable to open due to self-catering requirements, while others do not see any rush to do so until travel restrictions on the English border are lifted.

Georgia Legg, owner of Adcote House, Deganwy Ave, in Llandudno, said: “We are not yet open because 90 per cent of our business comes from England; only one per cent from Wales and the rest from overseas. We are hoping to be in step with England when the lockdown restrictions there ease.

“We feel the Welsh Government is keeping us dangling because the hospitality industry has not been given a road map while the other nations in the UK have theirs.”

Barbra Drake, owner of Tyn-y-Fron B&B and holiday cottage, in Betwys-y-Coed, said: “We are able to open up on self-contained basis, which means we could open our bed and breakfast as long as meals are eaten in people’s rooms, but this is only available for people from Wales. Most of our guests are from England so we have decided to delay our re-opening until the whole process is further advanced to allow cross border traffic.

“The holiday cottage part of our business we hope to start when travel is allowed from England.”

Elaine Millar, owner of Lymehurst Guest House, in Llandudno, said: “I’m not getting many bookings yet but I’m not pushing for them as I want more certainty about what and when things can reopen.

“I’m waiting for April 12, which is hopefully when the opening of borders will take place. A lot of our business depends on people coming over the border.

“I’m starting to get some bookings from July onwards, by which point I hope we can be properly open. I have still got bills to pay but I don’t want to be inviting people to come who might have the virus.”

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno