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Welsh Government confirms international travel rules alignment with rest of UK

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The Welsh Government has confirmed it will merge the green and amber travel lists into one and remove the requirement for pre-departure testing for those fully vaccinated.

The changes are intended to be made by October 4th in alignment with the new UK Government system.

A decision on moving away from PCR tests is still to be made but the Welsh Government has outlined its opposition to the change and is calling on the UK Government to reverse its decision.

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have regularly called for a careful approach to international travel to prevent coronavirus being re-imported into the UK, especially new and emerging variants which may not respond to the vaccines.

“The decision to move away from PCR tests from returning travellers on day two is concerning. This test, combined with genetic sequencing of all positive tests, is a vital part of our surveillance for coronavirus and protects our borders from the virus.

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“We recognise the communication and enforcement challenges in having different testing requirements, and continue to thoroughly examine the evidence for a Wales-only testing regime, but the strongest solution to protect public health is for the UK Government to reinstate UK-wide testing.”

The Welsh Government is also considering which countries to expand the vaccine certification recognition system to over the coming weeks.

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Cardiff Airport

Low-cost airline Vueling launch new Cardiff to Paris flights

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Low-cost airline Vueling has announced a new service from Cardiff to Paris, taking off on 2nd November 2021 – with flights starting from less than £10!

The route will operate twice a week with flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights are now on sale and available to book.

The news comes as a result Vueling’s acquisition of slots at Paris Orly, enabling the airline to expand and operate 32 new routes from November. Cardiff’s inclusion in this expansion is great news for passengers wanting to re-unite with friends and relatives, explore Paris on a city break, and for business and sports travel.

Since the collapse of Flybe in 2019, it has been Cardiff Airport’s priority to re-instate key routes lost due to the impact of the pandemic. Earlier this year, routes to Belfast and Edinburgh resumed, operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair, and Ryanair will be launching a 4-weekly service to Dublin from the end of October.

Flights to Paris Orly are currently on sale at special fares, with flights available for under £10.

Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport said: “We are delighted that Vueling has stepped in to provide a much-needed service to Paris from Cardiff Airport.  The announcement will be welcome news for our customers wanting to travel to visit family, to explore one of the world’s greatest cities, and of course for large sporting events. Paris is also hugely popular with families wanting to visit Disneyland, and it is fantastic that this will once again be easily accessible for passengers. 

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“I’d like to thank Vueling for their continued confidence and partnership with Cardiff Airport, and we very much look forward to launching the route later this year.”

The Cardiff-Paris route will be the fourth route in Vueling’s Cardiff programme, which currently consists of scheduled flights to Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Alicante.

(Lead image: Cardiff Airport)

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Haverfordwest

New conservation management plan adopted for Haverfordwest Castle

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Pembrokeshire County Council’s ambitions to develop a new flagship heritage attraction project at Haverfordwest Castle have moved a step closer following the approval of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the site. 

Formally adopted by Cabinet, the CMP has undergone consultation with tourism and heritage professionals and the broader public. This plan is a key document that will guide the protection and enhancement of the site’s significance.

Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said he was delighted the CMP had been approved.

“Haverfordwest Castle is one of the County’s most under-utilised heritage assets despite being one of its most recognisable landmarks,” he said.

“The approval of the CMP will help to ensure that we follow the correct procedures as we work towards developing the site as a heritage attraction that will tell the story of Pembrokeshire.”

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This site contains three listed buildings and a scheduled monument, and is located within the Haverfordwest Conservation Area. The Conservation Management Plan will guide the care and celebration of these heritage assets during development and into the future.

Subject to external funding applications, the proposals for the site will be developed in four stages to include:

  • More green space for visitors through gardens developed on the burgage plots on the South banks of the Castle and the creation of a new walk around the outside of the Castle walls with new access from the North and South;
  • A new route from Bridge Street to the perimeter walkway, that will open up a stunning view of the castle;
  • A new events space for outdoor performance in the castle’s Inner Bailey;
  • Refurbishment of the Gaol to host a flagship visitor attraction.

“Regeneration of the Castle is anticipated to breathe new life into our valuable local heritage, creating a more attractive place where people can spend time. It will also provide Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire with a quality destination for visitors,” added Cllr Miller.

“As the County Councillor for the Castle Ward I welcome this news and am very pleased of the approval of a Conservation Management Plan for the site,” added Cllr Thomas Tudor.

“Together with the new Castle Square and Castle Lake link, this can only further develop and enhance this part of Haverfordwest to the benefit of its townspeople and visitors to the county town of Pembrokeshire, providing a beautiful green space for the community and visitors to enjoy.”

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(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Neath Port Talbot

Neath Port Talbot tourist attractions prepare for dramatic campaign

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A new tourism campaign fronted by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPTCBC) is being launched this month. The Dramatic Heart of Wales campaign is hoping to attract tourists to the area for overnight stays towards the end of 2021 and into 2022.

The campaign will highlight the rich natural beauty, world-class adventure activities and unique heritage that can be found within Neath Port Talbot – ‘The Dramatic Heart of Wales’. Tourism providers were invited to join together to offer tailored experiences that will appeal to a range of travellers from individuals, families, thrill-seekers and those looking for a slower-paced break.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the last 18 months has been incredibly challenging for tourism providers. However, the tourism sector in Neath Port Talbot has risen to the immense challenges they have faced by adapting their services and carefully re-opening to the public this summer. The Council’s aim is that the new Dramatic Heart of Wales campaign will showcase all that Neath Port Talbot offers to potential visitors

More than 20 tourism businesses in Neath Port Talbot are involved in the campaign and have brought together experiences which provide inspiration to travellers considering a break in the area. The operators range from hotels and holiday cottages through to adventure sport providers and historical properties.

WATCH: Neath Port Talbot’s new tourism campaign launch video

Cllr Leanne Jones, Deputy Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council comments: “This ambitious project has been two years in the planning process and we’re excited to launch the new campaign. When looking at a map of the south coast of Wales, Neath Port Talbot is the central point and the beating heart of the region. We’re well known for our heavy industry, but this contrasts dramatically with our epic coastline and our wealth of forests and parks. Some of the world’s most well-respected actors also hail from this area and we felt that the ‘Dramatic Heart’ was an apt way to describe everything that we can offer tourists to the area.

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“Through this campaign we want to attract people who may not have previously considered a short break in Neath Port Talbot. Rather than passing us by on their way to West Wales, we want to encourage all types of tourists to explore the area and take in its natural beauty.

“I have been immensely proud of the resilience shown by the tourism sector locally when faced with the pandemic, we want to support tourism businesses in the area in a responsible way and we feel that with our wealth of outdoor spaces, visitors can feel confident and safe when enjoying a mini-break in Neath Port Talbot.”

In line with current trends, the experiences have been tailored to give travellers mini-break options that include accommodation and activity options. To encourage overnight stays and to appeal to a broad audience, the experiences are themed around mountain biking, walking, heritage and adventure.

As part of the campaign, visitors are also being encouraged to get behind the Visit Wales Addo campaign which is encouraging a safe return to tourism and hospitality for both visitors and businesses. Addo means ‘to promise’ in Welsh, and visitors are being asked to make a collective promise to care for each other, for the epic landscape and for the communities they visit.

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Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council secured funding for this project via the Visit Wales Regional Tourism Engagement Fund (RTEF). RTEF is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and Welsh Government.

The campaign website can be found at www.dramaticheart.wales

Lead image: Cllr Leanne Jones and the ‘dramatic heart’ sand art (Image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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