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Farm boss takes swing at Ryder Cup

 
Created on 21/09/2010 @ 10:08
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Since the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) took control over the Wales Tourist Board there has been less involvement with the farm tourism sector, the Farmers' Union of Wales has told AMs.
Celtic ManorResponding to the Assembly's rural development committee inquiry into rural tourism, the union revealed that its members believed that there was less engagement on tourism issues since the merger of the board into the WAG. With more focus placed on big events like the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport (right).
“Our farm diversification committee enjoyed a close working relationship with the Wales Tourist Board and was actively involved with consultations on tourism-related strategies,” said committee chairman Deilwen Breese. “However many of the existing strategies and action plans have not been reviewed since the merger.
“Farming creates and maintains the landscape which visitors enjoy and also produces the food which can boost their enjoyment of the countryside but the introduction of the Single Investment Fund (SIF) - part of the range of support offered through the WAG’s Flexible Support for Business programme - had created a great deal of confusion within the industry.
“Farmers complain of a lack of information and guidance about the fund which they claim is complicated and bureaucratic to apply for, particularly by small businesses,” Mrs Breese added.
“Many farm-based rural tourism businesses are usually run as part of the family business which does not necessarily create new jobs but does keep existing family members on the farm. This sort of job security is as important as job creation when weighing up potential grant bids.
“Farm tourism operators fear that priority is being given to promoting facilities around urban areas and while events like the Ryder Cup will attract media attention and public investment, they are not convinced they will benefit from these initiatives.
“The FUW calls for closer involvement with the Assembly Government as a first step in improving support for rural tourism. It also believes that existing strategies need to be revisited and reviewed to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.”
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