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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 11:12 GMT
Japanese tempted by sheep attraction
Sheep attraction at Ewephoria
Sheep are the star of the show
Japanese travel writers are being encouraged to swap the castles and museums of Wales for a sheep-based tourist attraction called Ewe-phoria.

The World's Sheepdog Trialling Champion, Aled Owen, hopes the one man and his dog and shearing displays at his Denbighshire farm will attract more overseas visitors.


After this week their tour arrangers will realise there is more to Wales than history

Aled Owen, farm owner

Last year tourists from the Far East contributed 4m to the Welsh economy and Mr Owen plans to tap into the lucrative market.

On Friday a group of influential Japanese writers and agents were shown the farm of 300 sheep and five working dogs that Mr Owen has turned into an attraction.

After three years of planning the Ewe-phoria sheepdog centre in Corwen was opened in June 2001.

The attraction shows visitors 14 different breeds of ram, a shearing display and sheepdog demonstrations.

Japanese visitors
The visitors were not put off by the weather

Mr Owen said Wales had a lot to offer holidaymakers.

"Visitors from Japan to Wales have traditionally kept to castles and museums," he said.

"After this week their tour arrangers will realise there is more to Wales than history."

The visit by 12 people from the Japanese tourist industry was organised by the Tourism consultancy firm EuroWales.

Foot-and-mouth

Emyr Griffiths, from EuroWales, said: "There are presently 7,000 annual trips to Wales by Japanese tourists.

"Our aim is to substantially increase those numbers as Japanese tour organisers become aware of the various aspects of life in Wales."

The small tourist attraction has already made a name for itself during the short time it has been opened.

In March, the centre featured at number 38 in a guide to the UK's top 50 Easter destinations despite having to postpone its opening after the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

American hobby

The closest confirmed case of the disease was 50 miles from the family farm but restrictions still had to be adhered to.

Mr Owen - who was proclaimed the world sheepdog champion two months ago - has already captured the American market.

He travelled to the United States in September where he was offered the chance to exhibit his talents.

He has also sold puppies to people in America who have taken up sheepdog trialling as a hobby.


More from north east Wales
See also:

30 Mar 02 | Wales
13 May 02 | Wales
29 Mar 02 | Wales
23 Jan 02 | Wales
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