The Tourism Investment Support Scheme (TISS) has allocated £3.8million to tourism businesses in Wales since April 2011, creating and safeguarding 350 jobs. The fund is open to existing and new businesses for the purpose of upgrading the quality of facilities and increasing capacity where there is a gap in the market.
Welcoming the news, Business Minister Edwina Hart said:
"The creation of 300 new jobs in one of our key growth sectors is excellent news for Wales and is especially welcome during these difficult economic times for the UK. It also shows that despite the disappointing seasonal weather, the future looks bright for tourism in Wales.
"Tourism is worth around £4bn a year to the Welsh economy and there is enormous potential to expand so we cannot afford to sit on our laurels. To be able to compete against stiff competition elsewhere in the UK and beyond, it is vital that we must keep bringing new quality products to the market and improve the visitor experience.
"It has been good to see that take-up of our TISS funding has been very healthy over the last year as tourism businesses across Wales have striven to improve the quality of their product offering and go from strength to strength."
TISS investment since April 2011 has totalled more than £3.8 million, with total capital costs of Welsh projects exceeding £14.1 million.
One of the businesses to have benefited from the scheme is Browns Hotel in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. Having fallen into disrepair and been closed since 2006, the former watering hole of Dylan Thomas is now reopening its doors as a boutique hotel with 15 guest rooms.
The grade II listed building received funding of £230,000 from the Welsh Government.
Browns Hotel general manager Charlie Dyer said:
"The transformation in recent months has been astonishing. With this vital support from the Welsh Government we were able to revamp what had become a derelict building and I am delighted that our reopening comes in time for the national celebration of Dylan Thomas’ birth centenary."
Another business which benefited from TISS support is Ruthin Castle Hotel in Denbighshire. It received £500,000 from the scheme to upgrade its premises to a 4-star hotel and develop a spa facility.
Anthony Saint Claire of Ruthin Castle commented:
"The hotel has just completed the upgrade of the final 38 of its 60 bedrooms to 4-star standard and created a distinctive Welsh spa experience knows as 'The Moat'.
"In the current economy, the Tourism Investment Support Scheme has been essential to our plans for Ruthin Castle. To see those plans come to fruition is very rewarding for us, but more than that, to be able to offer this kind of facility in Ruthin will benefit the whole area by drawing tourism into Wales and creating more employment."