An award-winning online scheme providing people with training and knowledge about the special qualities of areas in Wales is urging more people to get involved and become an Ambassador during Wales Tourism Week, 15-21 May.
The Wales Ambassador Scheme won the skills award at the North Wales Tourism Awards and is a great way to deepen your appreciation of a place and learn more about its unique characteristics. It’s totally free and open to everyone. A series of online modules on a variety of themes is offered. This includes Welsh language, communities, culture, history, landscapes, sustainable tourism, cycling and walking. There are 3 levels of awards – bronze, silver and gold, depending on the number of modules completed. Rewards including certificates and badges are sent to everyone who completes the levels.
Denbighshire was the first to launch an online course of its kind in Wales. Eryri and Bannau Brycheiniog National Parks, Conwy, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, and Carmarthenshire have since launched courses and Flintshire, Wrexham, and Ceredigion are busy preparing to launch later this year as well as a pan Wales Cultural Ambassador course. Ambassadors are actively encouraged to sign up to multiple courses to extend their learning about Wales and be part of a wider community.
Wales Tourism Week is held annually during May to raise the profile of the tourism industry in Wales. Tourism has growing economic and social importance and is one of the largest contributors to local jobs, local businesses, and the local economy.
Rachel Simpson from Artychoke in Llandudno who has been instrumental in setting up the schemes says:
“The numbers and feedback from our Ambassadors show that people have really enjoyed the various topics in each of the courses. You can learn more about the history, food & drink, legends, attractions, and activities that are available in your area of Wales. Many Ambassadors have gone on to take more than one course! The ‘Did you know’ tips are particularly popular, which highlight interesting facts that bring depth and life to what is already well-known. It is great to see how many people are willing to play a part in understanding and protecting the exceptional qualities of Wales.”
Over 3,200 people have enrolled onto at least one of the courses on the website with 2,245 achieving the bronze level certificate across all courses. Over 5,500 bronze, silver and gold certificates have been awarded to Ambassadors, not only from within Wales but from all over the UK and beyond.
Councillor Win Mullen-James, Cabinet Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said:
“It’s really encouraging to see this innovative project that started in Denbighshire going from strength to strength with more Authorities and National Parks investing in the scheme and working collaboratively across Wales. Denbighshire is committed to managing the scheme and continuing to work with our partners to explore new opportunities.”
Tony Vitti, Rhyl Tourist Information Centre commented:
“Denbighshire’s Ambassador scheme has been an invaluable tool for the Tourist Information Staff at Rhyl to keep on top of their knowledge of the area. We’ve found interesting things whilst taking the course and reminded ourselves of some hidden gems away from the “honeypot” areas that we’ve been able to encourage our customers to visit. I particularly enjoyed the module on the Vale of Clwyd, the latest module to be added, because this is the area in which I live, and it was great to learn a little more about my own place.
Additionally, we’ve taken all the other Wales Ambassador Courses: Many of our customers, those staying in Denbighshire, are using here as a gateway to the wider North Wales area. The Eryri Ambassador course has helped us to help them to a greater level than before. We’re also Gwynedd, Conwy, Isle of Anglesey, Bannau Brycheiniog and Carmarthenshire Ambassadors, and knowledge gained from the courses based in the south of the country has helped us in two particular instances recently: We had American customers with BritRail passes who were travelling the length of Wales and we helped them find things to do later in their journey, and last week we helped a French family who were moving on from St. Asaph where they were staying to visit Laugharne. I think the courses are a great resource. Even if you don’t encounter visitors on a daily basis there’s lots to learn that you may take advantage of and visit for yourself. I certainly have.”