Adrenalin-fuelled tourism is pumping prosperity into the North Wales economy.
And the fact 2016 has been designated the Year of Adventure by Welsh Government couldn’t be more appropriate.
Thrill-seekers will help generate £2 billion and adventure tourism heralds a new golden era for the visitor economy.
North Wales is at the epicentre of this growing market and we are earning recognition as a world-leader thanks to exciting developments like Zip World and Surf Snowdonia.
The sector already employs 40,000 people across North Wales - which adds up to one in every seven jobs. At the same time more than £100 million of mainly private-sector money is being invested in tourism-related projects in the region.
North Wales Tourism is the biggest destination management organisation in Wales and my ambition is for it to grow even more - and eventually rival and overtake Cumbria Tourism, which is the benchmark.
We’ve got to embrace the public sector and bring them on board with the private sector to work in partnership and create a single voice - a cohesive brand for North Wales.
People are realising that the tourism industry is a dominant industry in North Wales, with eight per cent of the region's gross domestic product - or a total of £2 billion - coming from tourism.
The recognition is growing. The number of jobs created directly within the industry is well over 40,000, and the potential is there for so much more. Particularly if people work together, so that North Wales can punch above its weight.
We can already lay claim to being the adventure capital of Europe when you look at fantastic developments like Zip World and Surf Snowdonia adding to the existing opportunities for adrenaline-fuelled breaks right across the region.
It’s bringing us kudos and recognition and, on the back of that, you’ve got other attraction providers starting to invest big sums of money into their infrastructure.
From a marketing perspective, we need to be working in partnership to market on a North Wales level. It’s something we at North Wales Tourism are doing, and we’ve got big plans.
We’ve launched a new website, which is effectively our new gateway into North Wales.
And the Go North Wales branding has been refreshed. It’s giving the message that we’re a modern tourist destination with everything to offer, but we’re also very proud of our history and heritage, which brings a lot of visitors in as well.
So as well as a brand, Go North Wales is a call to action.
It’s an exciting time to be a tourism business in North Wales, and I’m looking forward to talking more about the opportunities for the region at the Business Growth North Wales conference on September 15.
Hope to see you there.
Learn more at the Business Growth North Wales conference on September 15.