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Councillors back ‘vitally important’ tourism department

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MEMBERS of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee have given their unanimous support to the continuation of the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership.

The committee were unanimous in their decision that tourism was a vital part of the economy and that they did not want to see the partnership cease.

The Partnership was set up in 2010 to coordinate the work of key partners supporting the tourism sector. The work focuses upon destination management, destination marketing and sector collaboration and diversification.

The Council has been looking at a number of different models of delivery in order to take the work forward but has not yet found a sustainable plan.

At the meeting on Thursday (Jan 10), the Council’s Head of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mike Cavanagh, said there is fierce competition between areas in trying to get people to come to certain areas and added that tourism was vitally important to the economy.

He added that if the service was cut it would save the council in the region of £132,000 but went on to say that editorials in newspaper and magazines were just as important in getting people to come to the county.

Cllr David Bryan suggested that individual firms such as hotels, B&B’s or pubs should be making a contribution to tourism.

Jane Rees Baynes from Pembrokeshire Tourism added that this was something they would be looking at as part of the new model.

Cllr Phil Kidney said the report was quite ‘scathing’ of the council and added that the general feel of it was that there wasn’t a ‘great appetite’ to see the partnership forward.

Welsh Government officer Gerwyn Evans added that if the local authority stopped its support it would make things more difficult and said they would be looking for the council to be making a commitment.

Questioning whether or not the Partnership should cease, Cllr Simon Hancock said: “Absolutely not.”

He went on to say: “We should actually re-dedicate ourselves to tourism in Pembrokeshire. In the past we haven’t had decisive decision making or leadership and there is a worrying trend that there has been no increase in spend over the past decade and there has been a slight decline in seasonality.

“We are suffering from a stagnation and other areas are stealing a lead on us and I hope the message from us is that it is extremely important.”

Cabinet member Paul Miller said Cllr Hancock was right to point out the lack of decision making or leadership but did say that they had the right view in setting up the partnership.

Cllr Miller said: “We can only do this collaboratively, it got confused in the past in all sorts of things that it shouldn’t have done. Let’s get this show back on the road and let’s make this partnership work.”

Cllr Vic Dennis spoke of the number of tourism businesses in the county with 1,576 paying business rates but only 346 of those are signed up with Pembrokeshire Tourism. He went on to say there was significant potential for development and added that the industry needed to ‘take ownership’.

James Parkin from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park added that small and medium business enterprises were the back bone of tourism. He added that a review of the service was done in 2014 but because nothing came of that they saw a ‘significant drop’ in its membership.

Cllr Dennis highlighted the work that was going on in Narberth and added that it was a model that could be replicated elsewhere.

Mike Cavanagh added that in recent years the tourism service had been ‘cut through the bone’ and said they only have two officers working on the service as well as himself at the moment.

Cllr Michael Williams said that Tenby and Saundersfoot had been packed over the winter weekends adding that a ‘core season’ no longer exists. He said: “I don’t think the service should cease, it is vitally important. The businesses are the main beneficiaries and they have to play their part.”

Speaking on the Tenby Tourist Information Centre Cllr Williams said his heart says to keep it but his head says perhaps not. He suggested that Pembrokeshire Tourism might take it over as the council would be struggling to find £45,000 to keep it going.

“We’ve got to step up and do it better than we have in the past”, he concluded.

Cllr Bryan added that cinemas were an important part of the tourism offer while Cllr Williams added that a cinema in Tenby ‘could be a huge success’.

Cllr Bryan concluded by saying that tourism was a ‘vital part’ of the economy and recommended that the Committee would like to see the Council continue with the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership and give it their ‘utmost support’.

That was supported unanimously.

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High value items stolen in Llangwm burglary

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POLICE are appealing for witnesses to a high value burglary at a home in The Kilns, Haverfordwest, and have released an electronic image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

The front door of a house was forced open and entry gained some time between 8am and 3.35pm on June 6.

Around £300 in cash, two iPads, two blue tooth speakers, an iPod, GoPro camera, a white gold wedding ring with diamonds worth around £800, a diamond and pearl necklace worth between £3,000 and £4,000, a fob watch, Zeiss First World War binoculars, and a Nintendo Switch were stolen.

Through enquiries, it has been established that two men were seen in the area at the time, who might have information that could help the investigation.

An electronic image of one of the men has been created.

They were described as two men in their mid-40s with blonde hair in a short back and sides style. They had gaunt faces with prominent cheek bones, and were slim and tanned.

The older looking of the two was wearing dark navy safety trainers, black cargo trousers and a long-sleeved dark shirt with a dark grey lightweight body warmer over the top.

The younger had similar clothing, and was carrying a Morrisons bag for life.

They were seen walking down the Sardis road; between the lane for Rosemarket and the Troopers Inn crossroads.

Officers are urging anyone who has been offered any of these items for sale, anyone who can help identify the men described, or anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in The Kilns on June 6 or the days prior, to call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101.

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Pembrokeshire Coast project in exciting UK partnership launch

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FIVE of the UK’s National Parks, including the Pembrokeshire Coast, are running major conservation projects as part of an exciting new partnership launched this week between the National Parks and Clif Bar.

These projects, under the new National Parks Protectors Fund, are funded by Clif Bar, which has a long history of supporting environmental schemes in the USA and Canada. However, this is the first time the company – which sells a range of energy bars for active lifestyles – has worked in the UK.

In the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park the pilot project – entitled ‘Paths, Pollinators and People’ which involves the creation of a new Pollinator Warden role, aims to enhance the biodiversity alongside a lengthy section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, from Newgale to Abereiddi.

This project is the first step towards a longer-term aim of maintaining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in a way that improves biodiversity and wildlife interest for visitors, whilst at the same time ensuring its quality as a National Trail.

The Pembrokeshire Coast is the only Welsh National Park to have a Clif Bar supported project but all 15 UK Parks will benefit. Those not running a special project will receive a smaller grant to support their choice of conservation work during the year.

Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, said: “The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of the world’s finest long-distance walking routes, attracting one million visitors every year. The support of Clif Bar will make a vital contribution to improving the biodiversity of such an iconic stretch of the Coast Path.”

Catherine Hawkins, Chair of National Parks Partnerships, said: “Clif Bar is really stepping up to help the UK National Parks to protect and conserve their precious landscapes. The National Parks work year-round on projects that protect and conserve important habitats and wildlife. But with so much work to do, we need the support of partners like Clif Bar to help protect these landscapes for now and the future.”

David Smith, Senior Marketing Manager at Clif Bar Europe, added: “Clif Bar is a purpose-led company committed to sustaining five bottom lines. These are our Five Aspirations – sustaining our business, brands, people, community and planet. Our partnership with the UK National Parks truly embodies these aspirations by supporting the communities we live in and the planet we share. We are confident that the projects supported through the UK National Parks Protectors Fund will help ensure that these outstanding landscapes we are so lucky to share with nature are available for generations to visit and enjoy.”

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Missing man’s anorak and walking stick found on coastal path

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Reginald Davies has been missing since June 14

AN ANORAK and a walking stick believed to belong to a missing man from Pembrokeshire have been found near a coastal path.

The search for a Reginald Davies has now entered its fifth day, after he was reported missing shortly after 9.30am on Friday morning (Jun 14).

Sniffer dogs and a police helicopter have been involved in the search, along with the coastguard, mountain rescue teams, and the RNLI.

The 70 year old Mr Davies went missing from his home in the village of Newport, and his family are now “increasingly concerned for his welfare.”

Police are continuing their search and are appealing to the public for help.

They describe Mr Davies as being around 5ft 6ins tall and of slight build. He has short black hair and wears glasses.

He is known to frequent the coastal path near his home and the Parrog area of Newport. Police have confirmed on Tuesday that a walking stick and an anorak – believed to belong to Mr Davies – have been found near the path.

He does not have access to a car so is believed to have left his home on foot.

Anyone who has seen Mr Davies or has any information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101.

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