Aberystwyth hoteliers call for council marketing boost

The damage to Aberystwyth's promenade
Image caption Hoteliers claim persistent media images of the storms has not helped their plight

Aberystwyth business leaders and hoteliers have called on Ceredigion council to promote businesses suffering from dwindling visitor numbers.

The town's promenade was battered by huge waves and strong winds in January and February.

Hoteliers claim visitors still think the town is not "open for business".

The council said it was working on a marketing campaign with other partners to spread the message that the county was open for visitors.

More than £500,000 has already been spent on repairs to Aberystwyth seafront and nearby beaches.

Last week the county council said Aberystwyth's storm-hit promenade will be repaired before the Easter holidays in mid April.

'Social media'

Aberystwyth Chamber of Trade chairman, Chris Mackenzie-Grieve, said: "The council should set up some sort of promotion to tell visitors that businesses such as hotels are open.

"Businesses pay a small fortune in business rates and I think we should get something back.

"Even a concerted campaign through social media might help get things back on track."

Richard Griffiths runs the Richmond Hotel on Aberystwyth seafront, which was damaged by the storms in January.

"We were only closed for one evening in early January and we have been open since then," said Mr Griffiths. "But the perception persists that Aberystwyth and the West coast is still not open for business.

"The council need to do something to help businesses and talk to us because they don't know how badly the tourism industry has been affected."

'Media images'

Huw Roberts, owner of Gwesty Cymru Hotel and Restaurant on the seafront said takings had dropped between 10% and 20% since the start of the year.

He said: "The media hasn't helped by continually showing images of Aberystwyth promenade being battered which has made people believe flooding has been as bad here as parts of England."

Paving stones were ripped up and the Grade II-listed seafront shelter collapsed during the storms.

The total cost of repairing the damage is estimated at more than £1.5m.

In January the Welsh government announced the council would receive £560,000 towards the costs.

The funding was anticipated to support tourism-related infrastructure projects within the county.

A Ceredigion council spokesman said: "We are working with Visit Wales and other partners to provide a marketing campaign with financial backing from the Welsh Government to spread the message that Aberystwyth and the rest of Ceredigion is definitely open and ready for the summer tourist season."

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