Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Digital tourism investment backed

Welsh tourism site
A tourism site which has been developed to help businesses share information

A total of £17.4m is being invested to bring Welsh tourism up to date with the latest digital technology.

Better online marketing, booking systems and business management are hoped to result over four years.

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said the aim was to help keep Welsh tourism businesses competitive.

The funding is being drawn from the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Assembly Government and the private sector.

Mr Jones said: "Increasingly many people are going online to research, plan and book their holidays so we need to ensure tourism businesses in Wales are competitive in this area.

"There are many online resources we can develop that will benefit the industry as a whole."

It's vital for the tourism industry to embrace digital technology and online marketing to enable them to compete in the market
Tourism website developer Kevin Jones

The minister said the projects were not just about online marketing.

"It will also be about making the most of technology to run businesses more efficiently and ensure the industry is in a strong position to capitalise on new digital opportunities as they emerge.

"For example through online booking and reservation systems, databases, HR and finance systems."

Former Conwy bed and breakfast owner Kevin Jones has developed a website which allows tourism businesses to work together and do joint marketing, after he could not find anyone interested in developing such a system.

Mr Jones said: "Most local tourism operations concentrate on running their core business and do not have time to put information onto multiple websites."


He developed a software application that allows businesses to share information and upload details of activities to multiple websites at once.

"A lot of people told they couldn't work with websites or computers but the beauty of this system that is so simple and takes up so little time," he said.

"One new company who joined us was struggling when the started with us and are now making a profit of £400,000 in part due to the fact that they were rapidly able to have a full page of information on over 160 members' websites."

He has now sold his B&B in Betws y Coed to concentrate on running the new venture full-time.

"It's vital for the tourism industry to embrace digital technology and online marketing to enable them to compete in the market," said Mr Jones.

"Hopefully the digital tourism project will help more businesses in Wales exploit the latest technology and make the most of online opportunities."

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