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Francis: Keeping Welsh tourism on the map

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I will confine my comments to the matter of the Wales Tourist Board, and my colleague, Alun Cairns, will deal with the WDA.

The Wales Tourist Board is currently winning on many tracks, but the driver, it seems, is changing. Is he qualified? Is he responsible? Can he win?

Although we debated the outcomes of the consultation exercise that was carried out on the mergers on 8 June, we have not had a Plenary debate on the policies of the merger.

That is what operators in the tourism industry would like to see. They have noted that we have not had such a debate, and, at the Wales Tourism Alliance conference three weeks ago, which you attended, Minister, they told me to tell you that. They want to know the tangible outcomes and benefits of this merger.

In response to the 'Making the Connections' document, the Confederation of British Industry said that it was concerned about your Government's lack of a business plan for this merger.

Let us face it; any private business worth its salt would have clearly set out a series of deliverables, including costs and benefits, before considering any kind of merger at all.

This has never been set out, and it does not send any kind of message of clarity or confidence to tourism businesses. Conversely, many tourism businesses that have been applying for assistance from the Wales Tourist Board would have had to set out a clear and precise business plan before accessing funding.

When the Minister therefore talks of 'customer focus' and 'best in class', should the Government not be leading by example?

For those who work in the industry, the regional powers and delegated budgets of the regional tourism partnerships, which the Minister for Economic Development and Transport has said will be key to delivering tourism locally, are still unknown, as is the dedicated marketing of tourism budget within the main department, which was pointed out by Kirsty Williams.

We still do not know what kind of independent monitoring of customer service delivery is likely in future.

On the matter of branding, it is ridiculous that the Wales Tourist Board brand, which is recognised around the world for its excellent marketing—indeed, the First Minister paid tribute to that earlier during questions to him, referring to the Big Country campaign—will apparently be replaced by the mind-numbingly bland title, the Welsh Assembly Government department of tourism and leisure.

The new title is hardly likely to enjoy the support and confidence of tourism operators and visitors alike. Perhaps the Minister, in his response, if he does respond, will confirm that this wonderful title is actually the one that he has chosen.

We would like to know because, when I asked the Business Minister, who was covering for the First Minister some weeks ago, she did not know the answer to that, so it would be useful to know. The people out there who operate tourism businesses would also like to know.

The merger of the Wales Tourist Board with the Government was a snap decision for which there was scant and ill-thought-out research—if any—carried out beforehand.

It is obvious that little has been done in the wake of that decision. The lack of any clear, tangible deliverables and achievements as a result of this merger makes business and business organisations, as well as us, ask the question, 'What it is really for?'."

"Yr wyf am gyfyngu fy sylwadau i fater Bwrdd Croeso Cymru, a bydd fy nghyd-aelod, Alun Cairns, yn delio â'r Awdurdod Datblygu.

Ar hyn o bryd, mae'r Bwrdd Croeso yn ennill mewn sawl cyswllt, ond ymddengys bod y gyrrwr yn newid. A ydyw'n gymwys? A ydyw'n gyfrifol? A fydd yn gallu ennill?

Er ein bod wedi trafod canlyniadau'r ymgynghoriad a wnaed ar uno'r cyrff ar 8 Mehefin, nid ydym wedi cael trafodaeth mewn Cyfarfod Llawn ar bolisïau'r uno.

Dyna fyddai gweithredwyr y diwydiant twristiaeth yn hoffi ei weld. Maent wedi nodi nad ydym wedi cael y drafodaeth honno, a gofynnwyd imi, yng nghynhadledd Cynghrair Twristiaeth Cymru dair wythnos yn ôl, ddweud hynny wrthych. Maent eisiau gwybod beth fydd canlyniadau a manteision gweladwy'r uno hwn.

Mewn ymateb i'r ddogfen 'Creu'r Cysylltiadau', dywedodd Conffederasiwn Diwydiant Prydain ei fod yn poeni nad oedd gan eich Llywodraeth gynllun busnes ar gyfer yr uno hwn.

Y gwir yw y byddai unrhyw fusnes preifat gwerth ei halen wedi nodi cyfres glir o dargedau darparu, gan gynnwys costau a manteision, cyn ystyried unrhyw fath o uno o gwbl. Ni wnaed hyn erioed, ac nid yw'n anfon unrhyw fath o neges ynghylch eglurder na hyder i fusnesau twristiaeth.

I'r gwrthwyneb, byddai'n rhaid i nifer o fusnesau twristiaeth a fu'n bidio am gymorth gan y Bwrdd Croeso fod wedi paratoi cynllun busnes clir a chryno cyn derbyn unrhyw gyllid. Pan fo'r Gweinidog felly yn siarad am 'ffocws cwsmer' a 'gorau yn y dosbarth', oni ddylai'r Llywodraeth fod yn arwain drwy esiampl?

I rai sy'n gweithio yn y diwydiant, mae'r pwerau rhanbarthol a'r cyllidebau a ddirprwyir i'r partneriaethau twristiaeth rhanbarthol, sef y pethau y mae'r Gweinidog dros Ddatblygu Economaidd a Thrafnidiaeth wedi dweud y byddant yn allweddol i ddarparu twristiaeth yn lleol, yn anhysbys o hyd, felly hefyd y gyllideb ddynodedig ar gyfer marchnata twristiaeth o fewn y brif adran, fel y dywedodd Kirsty Williams.

Ni wyddom o hyd ba fath o fonitro annibynnol o'r gwasanaethau i gwsmeriaid sy'n debygol o ddigwydd yn y dyfodol.

Ar y mater o frandio, mae'n chwerthinllyd dweud y bydd brand y Bwrdd Croeso, sy'n cael ei gydnabod ar draws y byd am ei farchnata rhagorol—yn wir, talodd y Prif Weinidog deyrnged i hynny yn gynharach yn ystod cwestiynau iddo, gan gyfeirio at ymgyrch y Wlad Fawr—i bob golwg yn cael ei ddisodli gan deitl hynod o ddifflach, sef adran twristiaeth a hamdden Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru.

Nid yw'r teitl newydd yn debygol iawn o ennill cefnogaeth na hyder gweithredwyr twristiaeth ac ymwelwyr fel ei gilydd. Efallai y gwnaiff y Gweinidog, wrth ymateb, os bydd yn ymateb, yn cadarnhau bod y teitl gwych hwn yn un y mae ef ei hun wedi'i ddewis.

Hoffem wybod, oherwydd, pan ofynnais i'r Gweinidog Busnes, a oedd yn dirprwyo dros y Prif Weinidog rai wythnosau yn ôl, ni wyddai'r ateb, felly byddai'n ddefnyddiol cael gwybod. Byddai'r bobl sy'n gweithredu busnesau twristiaeth hefyd yn hoffi gwybod.

Yr oedd uno'r Bwrdd Croeso â'r Llywodraeth yn benderfyniad byrfyfyr a wnaed ar sail ymchwil brin a byrbwyll ymlaen llaw, os gwnaed unrhyw ymchwil o gwbl.

Mae'n amlwg mai ychydig iawn sydd wedi'i wneud yn sgîl y penderfyniad hwnnw. Mae diffyg unrhyw dargedau darparu a chyflawni clir a gweladwy o ganlyniad i'r uno yn gwneud i fusnes a sefydliadau busnes, yn ogystal â ninnau, ofyn y cwestiwn, 'Beth yw ei bwynt o gwbl?'."

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