The Circuit of Wales: a major boost for Wales’ growing credentials as an international tourism destination
- £425 million regeneration development aims to become one of Wales’ top tourism destinations
- The Circuit of Wales will directly increase tourism to Wales by at least 750,000 visitors every year
- Two hotels – 5 and 3 star – and the largest campsite in Wales to be built on-site
A new, exciting and dynamic destination for tourism to the UK and Wales is set to bring at least an additional 750,000 visitors a year in the next decade.
The Circuit of Wales, a 365-day-a-year, £425 million multi-purpose regeneration project based in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, will aim to swiftly become one of Wales’ top tourism destinations by bringing together a world-class motorsports track and facility – designed to achieve Grade 1 FIA and FIM accreditation and therefore capable of hosting all levels of motorsport – with a world-leading hub for leisure and entertainment.
Construction on the giant regeneration scheme is timetabled to begin in the Spring/early Summer of this year and, upon completion, will integrate a huge number of indoor and outdoor sports and leisure facilities and, in partnership with the EXTREME Sports Company - a pioneer in action sports, operating international events and media channels reaching 100 million globally – will host adventure and action sports, with mountain bike trails, a BMX park, bungee jumping, an indoor ski centre, a skatepark and a surf park on-site.
Visitors to The Circuit of Wales development will also be able to take part in clay-pigeon shooting, archery, cross-country running, hiking, orienteering, mountain biking, fishing, walking, zip-wire, ballooning, drone racing, and make use of a golf driving range.
The Circuit of Wales will be served by two on-location high quality, 5 and 3-star hotels and will boast one of the largest campsites in Wales, which will add to the spectator experience and encourage increased tourism into the surrounding region. The Circuit of Wales already has in place a ten-year agreement to promote and host the British MotoGP, with the first events set to take place from 2019. The development is one of only 14 countries worldwide (and only eight European) to host a round of the World Championship and will enable Wales to benefit from the impressive reach of its global TV broadcast – 300 million households worldwide, in over 200 countries. The August Bank Holiday British MotoGP race weekend alone will attract more than 150,000 spectators to Wales.
The development will also hold music events, culture and arts programmes and will be capable of hosting major festivals, bringing renowned international artists and bands to South Wales. A Welsh arts and culture programme, aimed at developing a Wales’ cultural profile within the UK and internationally, will harness local talent though direct commissioning and exhibitions.
Martin Whitaker, Chief Executive of The Circuit of Wales said:
“The Circuit of Wales regeneration package will significantly increase Wales’ already solid credentials as a magnet for tourism to the UK, once all facets are fully functioning. We strongly support the Welsh Government’s Partnership for Growth visitor economy objectives and we will play a determined part in delivering a first-class visitor infrastructure that can make Wales a global leader in the tourism sector.
“We are already working in partnership with EXTREME to attract leading names in international entertainment to The Circuit of Wales, in turn creating a huge number of jobs and opportunities for the leisure and tourism sectors across the country.
“We expect The Circuit of Wales to feature as a significant stand-alone international destination, a new southern access to the Brecon Beacons National Park and as a gateway to visitors planning to travel further afield and experience both the fantastic beaches and mountain landscapes of Wales, and a variety of city break and sporting break stays.
“By bringing together world-class motorsports events, with leisure and entertainment facilities that will attract action sports and music fans from across the world, The Circuit of Wales will become truly a 365-day-a-year centre for tourism, set in an area of outstanding beauty, that will bring a huge boost to Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent and to Wales.”
Whitaker emphasised the accessibility of The Circuit of Wales to many other key visitor destinations, with direct access to the new A465 Heads of the Valleys Road, easy reach of the M4 to the south and M5 to the east and less than an hour from Cardiff, Newport and Bristol.
“Cardiff International Airport will be just an hour’s drive away, while visitors to The Circuit of Wales will be in close proximity to other major attractions, such as the 2010 Ryder Cup Golf Course at the Celtic Manor Resort and the magnificent Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“The Circuit of Wales team strongly believes that Wales’ wider hospitality, leisure, tourist attractions and activities will grow and benefit from the development of the regeneration site - and that ancillary leisure businesses will bring valuable employment and training opportunities to communities across Wales. This will significantly help to reinvigorate the local economies in Ebbw Vale and Blaenau Gwent, which are in real need of support from the private sector.”
The British Hospitality Association in 2011 projected that by 2020 Wales would employ 144,000 in hospitality industries. The latest BHA data notes that there are 2,141 jobs dependent on hospitality in Blaenau Gwent, some ten per cent of employment worth £30m to the local area. The Circuit of Wales aims to substantially increase this local figure with many additional knock-ons across the wider Welsh tourism industry, supporting the South Wales Valleys Region Task Force target of creating 10,000 jobs, with a socially responsible employment strategy focused on building skills through training programmes.