Long before the Internet, the holiday experience started when we walked through the doors of our local, high street travel agent to be welcomed by smiling staff, an array of colourful travel brochures, and a wide choice of package tours available to different European destinations for our main summer holiday.
Since then the pattern has changed considerably with short breaks more popular, no-frills airlines making flying affordable for millions, and the Internet to hand to go anywhere in the world anytime we want.
The holidays now start when we visit a destination website that's been given a lot of thought, and the welcome begins as we browse through its web pages. The more user-friendly the site the better the experience, the greater the welcome and we warm quickly to the destinations it represents.
The realisation has now dawned that a website is no longer for advertising, it's an extension of the product itself!
In its third stage of evolution, the Internet has revolutionised the presentation of tourism and travel information, using spatial search to pin-point individual towns and villages that welcome visitors by working together to put themselves firmly on the world tourism map.
What was once macro-destination marketing has now become micro-destination marketing with town and village collectives of visitor Accommodation and Attraction wanting to make their mark on the worldwide web and tell what’s unique and outstanding about their particular destination.
Wales.info and Tourism Wales UK
The launch of new a new national web platform doesn’t occur every day and when it does, it has to be something rather special. Wales.info and Tourism Wales UK and are, in fact, both sides of the same coin, one for holidaymakers, the other for holiday providers.
Wales.info for holidaymakers is not just one website but over 10,000 built to cover 12 marketing areas, 500 villages and towns, 2,000 accommodation businesses, 1,000 visitor attractions, 27 different niche markets for tourism to Wales, and an opt-in database of email addresses for more than 8,000 Wales holidaymakers. All sites are registered with the major search engines and can be accessed independently from anywhere on the worldwide web and the Wales.info home page.
Tourism Wales UK for holiday providers on the other hand, makes management and marketing resources available to all tourism-related businesses in Wales, to generate commission-free booking enquiries for a small monthly, annual or biennial fee.
This is brilliant news for holidaymakers wanting to learn more about Wales; holiday accommodation providers wanting to boost their bed-bookings, and visitor attractions wanting to increase their footfall.
Wales.info and This Week Wales
Wales.info is live and fully functional on the web. But as with all large web platforms ready to embrace change, it will always be work in progress.. This is particularly the case with relaunch online of This Week, the National Tourism Newspaper of Wales, last published in 2005 and full of information on events, large and small, across Wales.
Beta testing is for early version website developments that have passed initial testing and are deemed fit for publication. It enables users to pass back comments on their experience to help improve later versions before full launch.
Large web platforms like Wales.info/ Tourism Wales UK are in perpetual or rolling beta owing to the speed of new developments and frequency of upgrades necessary to keep pace with new technology as it comes on stream.
Far from a disadvantage to businesses, it places them in the front line of innovation, ahead of their competitors. Businesses enrolled as Tourism Wales UK members can simply experience the benefits of passive collaboration while development work is done by others for the benefit of all members.
Visit Wales, Wales.info and Tourism Wales UK
The relationship between Visit Wales, Wales.info and Tourism Wales UK is highly complementary, based on an accord reached in the late 1990s that saw a sharing of Internet know-how and database management
Wales.info is a reputable Visit Wales data distributor supported entirely by members’ subscriptions. It gets “under the skin of the macro” through small and micro destination marketing based on places and events in Wales and is well adapted for long-tail search, which provides 70% of all web traffic.
Tourism Wales UK complements the work done by Visit Wales in key areas such as quality assurance and macro marketing of Wales as a destination. As a non-governmental organisation, Tourism Wales UK, is freer and faster to adopt new technologies for members as they’re brought on stream by Wales.info
New Project Manager
Director of Content Partnerships
Terry Jackson was joint publisher with Steven Potter of the National Tourism Newspaper for Wales for seventeen years from 1988 to 2005. He helped fund the early Internet debut of This Week in 1995, introducing online mapping soon after.
When Steven left Wales in 1997 to develop LondonTown.com, Terry stayed to develop Project Ffynnon (the original blueprint for Visit Wales); establish the Sustainable Transport for Tourism Wales marketing campaign, and sponsor the Greatest Show in Wales competition. A new website was launched at the Cymru'r Milflwydd tourism showcase at the 2000 National Eisteddfod of Wales, with an historic Owain Glyndwr re-enactment staged by This Week as part of the celebrations.
In 2005 This Week was switched entirely onto the Internet as Staying in Wales.com to take forward the Taste of Wales scheme discontinued by the Welsh Development Agency in 2003. A year later, the Wales.info domain was acquired and Staying in Wales was incorporated into Tourism Wales UK with the website still live and attracting visitor traffic.
Terry was a long-standing director of the Wales Rural Forum until the forum was dissolved after achieving its objectives, and is a founder member of the International Federation for Information Technology, Travel and Tourism. He has also been active on various steering groups including the Association of Geographic Industries in Wales and the review group for the Geographic Information Action Plan Strategy for Wales.
Outside his passion for work, his main interests are Formula 1 motor racing, supporting his local Histon FC football team, and an oral history project for his old school.
Webmaster and Network Manager
Arvind Nehru is 40 years old, born in Bangalore where in 2002 he achieved his BSc in Computer Science. In 2004, after working two years in a small company as a Quality Assurance Executive, he joined This Week Wales as Network Manager.
In 2005 he enlisted at Bangor University on an intense two-year Masters Degree course in Computer Science during which time he was building and running websites and web applications on a daily, including Staying in Wales.
Working under the tutelage of senior web developers and consultants, he gained considerable experience building CSS web pages using new digital mapping platforms and is a member of several web development communities including Google Maps, Google Earth and semantic Web 2.0 applications.
Arvind is a keen cricketer, follower of Formula 1, and Moto GP
Enrolment in the Tourism Wales UK programme is open to all accommodation providers, visitor attractions, event venues, restaurants, shops, food outlets and all other businesses whose revenue is derived largely from tourism to Wales.
Please go to http://tourism.wales.info/2010earlybirdoffer1.asp for special Early Bird rates for new members for 2017/ 2018.
A list of 2017/ 2018 Programme features can be seen at http://tourism.wales.info/features.asp but does not include new developments.
All questions about Tourism Wales UK and the Wales.info distribution channel should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be answered within the next working day.
Answers to frequently asked question can be seen at http://www.wales.info/faqs.asp/ http://www.wales.info/admin/membersfaqs.asp