South West Wales

Llandeilo resort aims for 20,000 Chinese tourists

The company behind plans for a hotel and timeshare resort in Carmarthenshire says it expects to attract around 20,000 tourists a year from China.

China-based Maxhard Ltd outlined plans for land at Pantglas Hall near Llandeilo at a public meeting on Tuesday.

It says it would open up west Wales to a huge new market of overseas visitors.

Director Tommy Li said he wanted to reassure people concerned about the over-development of the site.

The company wants to build a five-storey 92-bedroom luxury hotel that would incorporate an existing grade II tower - the only structure left standing from the original 1830s hall.

It would include a restaurant, swimming pool, gym, spa and conference and wedding facilities.

Maxhard owns a large tract of land around the existing timeshare complex of 25 Swiss-style wooden cabins. These would remain but it wants to build a further 80 new timeshare houses within the grounds.

Mr Li told BBC Wales his company was developing holiday resorts in countries across the world, including China, Canada and Germany.

He said the resorts were marketed at China's growing number of international travellers but would also attract visitors from many other countries.

'Beautiful land'

He said research showed most tourists from China knew of England and Scotland, but not many had heard of Wales.

Image caption Mr Li said the grade II listed tower had been incorporated into the hotel design

"We are going to bring at least 20,000 Chinese clients each year to Wales."

The company was also invited to give a presentation of its plans at a public meeting on Tuesday night.

Concerns have been raised about the over-development of the 22-acre estate.

Mr Li said Maxhard wanted to reassure people about the proposals.

"Maybe they have a misunderstanding about our project... we will protect the history of the building, we will protect the beautiful land," he said.

The site has had outline planning consent for a resort of up to 89 timber chalets since the early 1990s and Maxhard submitted its plans to Carmarthenshire council last month.

Architect Lamidi Evbuomwan said the hotel would incorporate the existing listed tower which he said is in need of renovation.

"This is a serious application and we've spent almost £500,000 to get to this point.

"There is a great opportunity to regenerate [the site] and create long-term jobs.

"We would argue it's a far more attractive development than 89 timber chalets."

Maxhard said it had yet to fully cost the development as changes may be needed as part of the planning process but it could be up to £50m.

It said the financing was in place and it would be ready to start work if its application, due to be determined in early 2012, was successful.

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