Transport, Tourism and the Rural Economy of Wales

Transport, Tourism and the Rural Economy of Wales


O Clark, S Cole, Wales Transport Research Centre, Univeristy of Glamorgan, UK


The WTRC is undertaking research to provide new insights into the link between transport, tourism and the rural economy of Wales. Through case studies, the research will assess what impact transport investment in rural areas can have on tourism.


Travel is an intrinsic part of tourism, transport providing the essential link between origin and destination and facilitating the movement of visitors and holiday makers during their trip. Thus, transport is essential to ensuring all areas of Wales can be accessed by tourists and is one of the key elements of the overall tourism product at a destination.

The car is often the mode of choice for many tourists. However, tourist travel can cause a conflict due to the traffic that it generates. Use of the car can impact upon the holiday destination in a number of ways, such as by causing local traffic congestion, pollution, and noise and visual intrusion, thereby devaluing the interest and appeal of the destination.

Regulating car travel is fundamental to the principles of sustainable tourism and reducing tourism impacts upon a holiday destination. But motorists are unlikely to explore an area without their car if the alternatives are poorly promoted, hard to use or simply not there. A major challenge is to encourage visitors to use alternative modes of travel such as through the promotion of public transport, and the provision of new bus, cycle and walking routes. However, successful schemes around the UK have shown that with the right services, drivers can be persuaded to leave their cars at home.

This study, being undertaken by the Wales Transport Research Centre, aims to provide new insights into the link between transport, tourism and the rural economy of Wales. The key question to be answered by this research is ?whether transport investment, excluding road construction, in rural areas can stimulate the local economy through increased tourist trade?? The objective is, through a series of case studies, to assess what impact transport investment in rural areas can have on tourism and consequently on:

- The creation of jobs;
- Tourist expenditure;
- Accommodation providers, tourist attraction and other service providers;
- Local transport service sustainability; and
- Destination choice and tourist destination satisfaction.

This study will be based on the development of a number of case studies centred on existing transport projects undertaken in Wales that have shown to have impacted on the rural economy in which they are located. The case studies will cover all modes of transport including bus and train, as well as non-motorised forms of travel such as cycling. The research is concerned with transport provision within a tourist area or services linking tourist / visitor attractions.

Throughout the research the focus will be on identifying economic impacts such as the creation of jobs, tourist expenditure in the area, and the impacts on accommodation providers, tourist attractions and other service providers. While the economic impacts will be the main consideration, other social and environmental impacts will also be identified. The main output from this research will be the final report, to be submitted to the Welsh Assembly Government by the 30th September.

This research is being funded by the Welsh Assembly Government under the Economic Research Grant programme. The study will be based on independent and innovative research conducted by Wales Transport Research Centre, University Glamorgan.


Association for European Transport