75% of Welsh tourism businesses see increase in visitors over May half term
Bluestone invests £23 million into 80 ‘Platinum’ lodges
Timber certified by forestry-standards organisation PEFC
Just weeks until bookings open for Summer 2023
The first sustainable timber frame for 80 new lodges arrived at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire last week as the latest figures show three quarters (75%) of Welsh tourism businesses saw an increase or maintained visitor levels over the May half term.
The delivery of the first timber frame is part of a £23 million expansion development at the resort.
Like many tourism businesses in Wales, Bluestone is witnessing a significant increase in bookings from pre-pandemic levels with the new development plans catering for a growing demand for luxury lodge accommodation for short breaks in areas of natural beauty.
The Wales Tourism Business Barometer also shows visitor numbers were up 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels, with restaurants, pubs and cafes enjoying a busy Jubilee bank holiday weekend as 38% of hospitality businesses experienced more customers than usual.
In further research from the Visit Britain Domestic Sentiment Tracker, 39% of respondents said they are more likely to choose a UK trip than an overseas trip compared to pre-pandemic. The top reasons for this preference being that UK holidays are easier to plan, and long queues at airports or cancelled flights.
“We know there’s growing demand for a sustainable luxury tourism product in Wales and we’re confident we can meet the need for an ecologically sound product in natural surroundings,” said Marten Lewis, Head of Sustainability at Bluestone National Park Resort.
“Sustainability is a key aspect across all the decisions on the design and build. Along with the promotion of health and wellbeing, sustainability has always formed an integral part of Bluestone’s business operations and will continue to do so as we move forward,” added Marten.
Bluestone reported a ‘surge’ in bookings for holidays in August in late June as uncertainty continued over flight cancellations and delays.
The holiday resort near Narberth in Pembrokeshire said Thursday 23rd June was the busiest day for August bookings since mid-March. Sales were even ahead of bookings for August 2019, showing that despite international travel having opened up with restrictions lifted, the demand for staycations is still strong.
The new lodges will have their own private entrance with virtual check-in and will offer the most luxurious facilities to date at Bluestone.
Visitors will be among the first to book the new lodges later this month in readiness of their official opening in the summer of 2023.
The new lodges are the fourth phase of expansion plans for the resort near Narberth in Pembrokeshire, which currently has 344 existing lodges, cottages and studio apartments across 500 acres of rolling Pembrokeshire countryside.
Timber and other sustainable materials have been used in the design and construction of the ‘Platinum’ lodges which will be heated by air-source heat pumps.
Welshpool-based SJ Roberts Construction will be the main contractors during the project, while the timber frames will be manufactured by sister company Lowfield Timber Frames with the remainder of the supply chain being carefully selected to ensure a quality build is guaranteed, while aiming to use as many local suppliers as possible.
All of the timber used is certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) – the world’s largest forest certification organisation – with a full chain of custody.