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EDITIONS
Friday, 24 May, 2002, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Botanic Garden goes oriental
Japanese garden
The Japanese garden has won a major award
The National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) has introduced a host of new features to celebrate its second anniversary on Friday.

Managers of the Camarthenshire project, built with 45m of Millennium Lottery funds, have admitted the site needs to be "more visitor friendly, accessible and inclusive".

The new chief operating officer, Evelyn Thurlby, says she wants to concentrate on boosting tourism in the area which was ravaged by the foot-and-mouth crisis last year.


We had the double whammy of the foot-and-mouth and of museums opening up to the public free of charge

Evelyn Thurlby, Chief Operating Officer, NBGW

A Japanese garden, which won best in show in Chelsea in 2001, is among the new developments introduced.

More than 400,000 people have visited the project, near Llanarthne, since it opened on May 24, 2000.

Ms Thurlby said the garden needs to refocus its priorities to increase visitors.

She said: "We have superb scientific research, and education programmes but we also have a public role."

The garden, covers approx 568 acres with around 180 acres open to visitors.

Botanic Garden visitors
Visitor numbers have exceeded expectations

Ms Thurbly added: "We had the double whammy of the foot-and-mouth and of museums opening up to the public free of charge."

In addition to the Japanese garden, other new features include the restoration of the walled garden, Theatre Botanica - an audio visual experience.

Confident

The garden has now set a revised target for 200,000 visitors for 2002-2003.

Ben Thomas, visitor services manager said: "New plans will depend on how many people visit during the next 12 months.

"We're looking forward to it with a great deal of confidence.

"There is now a lot of cause for optimism with Wales being marketed strongly both within the UK and abroad."


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