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‘Visit Pembrokeshire’ is new the destination management organisation for county

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PEMBROKESHIRE TOURISM members have vote to establish a new destination management organisation called ‘Visit Pembrokeshire’, the first of its type in Wales – and one of the few in the UK. The meeting where this was agreed was held on Friday (Nov 6).

Over the last 20 months the organisation has been working closely with the other members of the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership (DPP) – Pembrokeshire County Council, PLANED & The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority – to bring to life Pembrokeshire’s new Destination Management Organisation ‘Visit Pembrokeshire’. Our new Destination Management Organisation is the first of its type in Wales bringing together the public, private and third sector to help drive growth and development within this key economic sector. At this challenging time for the tourism economy – the establishment of Visit Pembrokeshire offers some welcome good news.

Visit Pembrokeshire will formally launch on the 16th November, when the County Council Tourism Marketing staff and resources will be transferred to Pembrokeshire Tourism. We will also receive financial support from PCC and staffing resources from PCNPA and PLANED. Visit Pembrokeshire will be led by the trade and will focus on a range of diverse activities including tourism leadership and advocacy, destination marketing, campaign and project delivery, industry liaison and support, research and intelligence and event support. Our expanded team will continue to be based in the existing Pembrokeshire Tourism offices at Llanion cove, Pembroke Dock (though will continue to work from home currently) – under the new name of Visit Pembrokeshire.

Emma Thornton

The key appointment for this new organisation has been the recruitment of the new Chief Executive Officer. The search for this much sought-after destination leadership role started earlier in the summer and attracted over 460 applications from all over the UK and abroad.

This search has now been completed and we’re delight to announced that Emma Thornton has been appointed as Visit Pembrokeshire’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Jane Rees-Baynes, Chair of Pembrokeshire Tourism, the transition board of Visit Pembrokeshire says: “We are exceptionally pleased to have found Emma who is an outstanding tourism leader who brings to the county extensive destination management experience as well as public-private sector partnerships. Emma will lead Visit Pembrokeshire with real confidence to an exciting future both for our members and our local communities who want to see economic growth closely aligned to the values of a sustainable future.’
Speaking about her appointment, Emma says

“I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as the new CEO for Visit Pembrokeshire.

“Pembrokeshire is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK and in fact the world. The Destination Management Plan (DMP) published earlier this year, is a demonstration of the commitment from Destination Pembrokeshire Partners to work collaboratively, and sets out a clear vision and strategy to grow tourism for the benefit of all.
2020 has been an incredibly tough year for tourism, but with its stunning coastline, natural and cultural assets and great visitor experiences, Pembrokeshire is now well placed to benefit from a growth in domestic tourism and, when the time is right, international visitors.

“I feel privileged to be taking up this role at this challenging but exciting time, and look forward to working with the new Visit Pembrokeshire team to lead on delivery of the new DMP and to help support business recovery.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, said: “The launch of Visit Pembrokeshire is fantastic news for this county. This is the first organisation of its kind in Wales and I’m proud that the Council has been at the forefront of making it happen. It’s been an enormously challenging year for our tourism industry, and the creation of this new organisation brings hope and excitement for a better future.”

Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said: “I welcome the establishment of Visit Pembrokeshire as the new Destination Management organisation working to promote Pembrokeshire as a leading visitor destination. Tourism is an important part of the Pembrokeshire economy and the National Park Authority looks forward to working with Emma Thornton and her team, the Board of Visit Pembrokeshire and the wider tourism industry to develop a sustainable tourism offer that supports the people and communities of Pembrokeshire.”

Iwan Thomas – Chef Executive of PLANED added: “We are delighted to be working alongside our partners to contribute the voice of communities to this new tourism & hospitality body within Pembrokeshire. Our communities provide the skills, supplies, and much more in terms of support for this key sector of our economy within the county, so PLANED are 100% behind Visit Pembrokeshire, to demonstrate and deliver a joined up and innovative approach that will benefit the county collectively”

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Bluestone National Park Resort achieves international environmental award

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Bluestone National Park Resort has achieved the international Green Key award in recognition of its excellent environmental standards.

With awarded establishments in 65 countries, Green Key is the fastest-growing eco-label for the tourism industry. In Wales, Green Key is operated by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, who also manage the iconic Blue Flag programme.

Bluestone has joined an exclusive group of prominent hospitality industry leaders in Wales who have been awarded Green Key accreditation, where the award clearly demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the high environmental standards being implemented.

Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bluestone National Park Resort said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the prestigious Green Key eco award. Our team have worked so hard to achieve this and we are so proud to be accredited.

“At Bluestone, we take sustainability – and protecting and supporting our environment – very seriously. Free Range Future is our sustainability movement. We thank Green Key, our guests and our teams for all their fantastic efforts and great support as we all work towards a more sustainable, and Free Range Future.”

Bluestone has committed to sustainability since the resort first opened in 2008, but dedicated improvements have been made across the site over the past year to meet Green Key standards.

These have included a staff engagement programme, halving the amount of general waste produced and using a local anaerobic digestion facility to turn all food waste into biofuel and fertiliser. Bluestone is also investing in new infrastructure to help reduce shower and tap water usage by more than half.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy said: “It’s fantastic to see one of Wales’s leading holiday resorts taking action to help protect and enhance our environment. We’d like to congratulate the Bluestone team on their success and welcome them to the Green Key family.

“After a difficult period for the tourism industry, Green Key provides an opportunity to put Wales on the map as a 21 st century, sustainable destination. By opting to visit a Green Key establishment, you can be sure that you are visiting somewhere with the highest possible environmental standards.”

For more information or to apply for Green Key visit the Green Key website www.greenkey.cymru

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Camp security boss threatened unpaid staff

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  • Guards walked out last week over wage dispute, police on stand-by

SECURITY staff guarding the Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre in Penally have told The Pembrokeshire Herald they have not been paid regularly or on-time.

They claim their managers have been putting profit before safety.

One shocking revelation is that those tasked with ensuring the safety of asylum seekers have been told to ‘toss any weapons found, such as knives over the fence’.

The company in charge, AK security, does not want any complications which could jeopardise its contract with the Home Office, it seems.

One security guard provided The Herald with a recording of what he says is a telephone conversation between the managing director of AK Security and himself.

In the phone call, the security guard is apparently threatened after asking for £1,000 in unpaid wages.

AK Security managing director Ali Mohammed Khan is heard in the recording of a mobile telephone conversation.

Mr Khan says: “If you show up again, I promise you I am going to do something.

“And trust me you don’t want me to do it. I do not like threatening people, but I am not a kid my friend. You’re a boy, listen to me innit – you don’t want me to do it.”

In the phone call with AK Security’s MD, the security worker is heard politely asking for his pay to which Khan replies: “Do you understand English? Are you thick in your head? Do you have a brain? Do you know how the bank system works? I am a company.

“When companies do transfers it isn’t done within minutes. It’s coming from the company account…. It takes three working days for your payment to come through. I told you yesterday that within three working days the money will be in your account.”
A previous payment had been made instantly. The worker consequently questioned the 3-day transfer – normally reserved for substantial companies who pay using the now-outdated BACS system.

The guard questions Khan again saying: “How is it you paid me alright on Sunday, but it is taking forever now?”

Kahn answers: “The last payment was done differently – why are you asking so many questions. The payment has been done. I am not a guy who is going to run away with someone else’s money – I am bigger than that!”

Other security guards told this newspaper they were instructed to throw any weapons they found at the camp ‘over the wall’ and not to report the weapons’ presence at the Camp.

The reason given for this was to prevent AK Security from losing their contract with the Home Office to guard the asylum seekers in Penally.

Police were put on standby on Tuesday night (Nov 17), after reports security staff had walked out in protest over non-payment of wages.

The Tenby Observer reported: “[Because] they had not received any wages from their employers at the firm ‘AK Security’, the staff ‘downed tools’ and refused to work, standing outside the gates for a period of time on Tuesday night, with one eye-witness stating that police officers were also on hand to monitor the situation.’

Since the Home Office repurposed Penally Camp almost two months ago, the facility has been dogged by controversy and unrest. The facility currently houses around 170 asylum seekers, with scope for that to increase to 234.

This week’s incident is the latest in a string of controversial events surrounding AK Security.

The firm, whose base is in London, has been contacted by The Pembrokeshire Herald to respond to this article’s content.

The Herald also contacted the Home Office regarding the serious allegations.

As we went to press, neither the Home Office nor AK Security had responded to our invitation.

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Pupils from two Pembrokeshire school’s asked to self-isolate

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FURTHER cases of Covid-19 has been confirmed in Ysgol Harri Tudur/Henry Tudor School (Pembroke) and at Milford Haven School.

As a result, all pupils in Year 11 from Ysgol Harri Tudur and some students from year 7 in Milford Haven have been asked to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.

Parents of the pupils in those classes have been informed.

Parents and carers do not need to contact the schools to find out if their child has been affected.

Pembrokeshire County Council, Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board are working with the school to ensure that all possible precautionary measures are being taken to minimise risk of transmission of the virus.

Parents/guardians have been given the following advice by Hywel Dda University Health Board:

If a child/parent/household member develops symptoms of Covid-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is unnecessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.

The Covid-19 symptoms are:
● a new continuous cough
● a high temperature
● loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

Booking a Covid-19 test:
Hywel Dda University Health Board recommends testing only for those with a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell.

If a child does not have symptoms of Covid-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.
If a Covid-19 test is required, this should be arranged via the UK Booking Portal, https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test or by ringing 119. Testing is available within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire or via a home testing kit delivered to and collected from your home. The Covid-19 test is undertaken via a throat swab or combined throat and nose swab.

 Self-isolation:
It is essential that people who have Covid-19 symptoms, or who share a household with someone who has symptoms, must self-
isolate, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so. A pupil must remain fever free for at least 48 hrs.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self- isolate for 14 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If a parent thinks their child has symptoms BUT chooses not to put them through a test all household members must remain in self-isolation for 14 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

Non-household members/contacts:
If a person has been in contact with an individual experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual
receives their test result. If this is positive, the Test, Trace, Protect Team will contact those people identified as contacts and advise accordingly.

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