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£400,000 to help with storm damage

storm helpPEMBROKESHIRE is to receive £400,000 from the Welsh government to ensure that the county’s tourism industry can be open for business by Easter after the recent storms and flooding. It is part of a £1.6 million fund being allocated for projects in Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Swansea and Monmouth County Council areas.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart announced the new fund on Thursday as she and Finance Minister Jane Hutt visited Aberystwyth. This funding follows the additional £2million announced last week by Minister for Natural Resources Alun Davies to fund emergency repairs to flood defences that were damaged in the recent storms.

Announcing the fund, Mrs Hart said: “The Welsh Government is supporting the tourism industry in Wales to be strong and resilient and a crucial part of our economy. Tourism is already worth an estimated £5billion a year to Wales and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure the sector continues to grow.

“Latest figures revealed 2013 was a very successful year for tourism in Wales, with increases in visitor numbers and visitor spend well ahead of those for Britain as a whole. And this week Wales was voted by Rough Guide readers as one of the five top countries to visit in 2014 – this is all great news for the Welsh tourism industry as we head towards Easter and the traditional start of the main tourist season.

“Our new Visit Wales advertising campaign will be launched in March with a view to attracting even more visitors to Wales for the summer of 2014.

“This funding will help speed up repairs to damaged infrastructure that could have had a negative impact at the start of the tourism season in Wales. We want to ensure areas affected by the winter storms are fully open for business by Easter at the latest, and preferably by half term and that potential visitors are aware of this.”

Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: “We want to support communities who were hit by the recent bad weather in whatever way we can. We are already investing significantly in improving flood defences across Wales but we know there is more immediate work that needs urgent attention. By providing this extra funding now we can help the tourism industry get back on its feet ready for the peak seasons.”

Funding will be allocated to the following local authorities: Ceredigion £560,000; Gwynedd £400,000; Pembrokeshire £400,000; Anglesey £80,000; Swansea £80,000; and Monmouth £80,000.

The funding is anticipated to support tourism related infrastructure projects within local authorities and to promote the message that Wales is “open for business”.

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Dayne Stone

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