Three million visit Wales coastal path
8:30pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in News
WALES' Coastal Path has attracted nearly three million visitors and provided a multi-million boost to the economy, a new report says.
The path, which is the world's first to cover an entire country, stretches 870 miles from the River Dee in Flintshire in the north to Chepstow in south and was officially opened last year.
New research by Cardiff University estimates that visitors spent £32 million on trips to coastal path areas.
Wales' Environment Minister John Griffiths welcomed the study.
He said: "The opening of the Wales Coast Path last May was a really big moment for Wales as we became the first country in the world to have a continuous path along our coastline.
"This report shows that even before the path was formally open it was attracting many thousands of visitors and providing a real economic boost to coastal towns in Wales.
"The research also indicates that the path resulted in an additional £32.2 million worth of demand in the Welsh economy between September 2011 and August 2012 which equates to an impressive £16.1 million of Gross Value Added (GVA).
"I am confident that the path will continue to attract a high number of visitors to our coast and will provide this much needed economic boost for many years to come.’’ According to Cardiff University's study, much of tourists' cash was spent on accommodation - an estimated £5.2 million GVA - while restaurants, cafes and bars received a £2.4 million boost.
And the report also said nearly 2.89 million people visited the Wales Coastal Path between October 2011 and September 2012 - with 660,000 of these visits alone taking place in Bridgend county borough.
The counties which saw the second and third highest visits along their stretches of the path were Flintshire and Cardiff.
A Welsh Government spokesman said a further £1.15 million would be spent on the path network in 2013-14, as part of the Coastal Access Improvement Programme managed by the Countryside Council for Wales.