The work of Pembrokeshire’s 'ground breaking' tourism organisation set up to promote the area as a year round destination has been highlighted.

Visit Pembrokeshire chief executive Emma Thornton outlined the numerous ways the organisation – made up of key strategic partners including the county council – has been working to showcase the county over the last two years at a meeting this week.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s services overview and scrutiny committee heard that Visit Pembrokeshire was formed in November 2020 and involves the council, National Park, Pembrokeshire Tourism and PLANED.

A not-for-profit company, it provides leadership, advocacy, research and development services for businesses that join its membership along with destination marketing and delivery of a tourism strategy as agreed in a destination management plan.

Five years of funding from the local authority had been agreed and a report to the committee adds that two full time members of staff were transferred to the organisation.

Over the last two years there has been a focus on seven key themes to “build the Pembrokeshire brand” and attract year-round visitors, growing new audiences – particularly on social media and digital as the “most cost effective way of advertising now” – a focus on festivals and events, trade newsletters and subscriptions.

Director of communities Dr Stephen Jones said Visit Pembrokeshire’s establishment was a “ground breaking move” and “establishing a sustainable future is what this is all about.”

Deputy leader Cllr Paul Miller added that it is an “example that we can do things differently” and what Visit Pembrokeshire was doing is “better than we did, and better than we can do.”

Consultations on visitor levies and self-catering property rules were highlighted and the industry is being encouraged to engage in the process to try to “shape” what legislation is introduced, despite a general opposition to Welsh Government proposals.

The priorities for 2023 include increasing membership, developing alternative income streams to support core and destination management plan projects and reviewing that plan, with an updated version to be published.