Language group criticizes Gwynedd motorhome parking plans amid allegations of ‘promoting overtourism’
Gareth Wyn Williams, local democracy journalist
A language lobby group described a decision to open some council-run parking lots for overnight camper parking as a “mistake” and likely to “further promote over-tourism”.
Last week, the Gwynedd Council Cabinet established up to six pilot sites that will offer the most basic waste disposal and water supply facilities and based on European-style ‘areas’.
The authority plans to spend Â£ 100,000 with users expected to pay a fee for their overnight stay, which advisers hope to increase trade in some villages and towns in the county by diverting campers from isolated areas without toilets or water.
But according to Cylch yr Iaith, who has strongly opposed âover-tourismâ in Welsh-speaking countries, the implications have not been fully thought through.
Howard Huws of the group’s sustainable tourism group, has previously argued that such “over-tourism” leads to increased sales of second homes and higher house prices, in turn bringing about the strength of the Welsh language in its heart.
On the cabinet’s decision, he claimed that this should have been full advice and would harm existing caravan parks and campsites – despite the authority’s claims that many RV owners want a more basic offer and cheaper and only tend to stay a night or two. in any location.
“The new car parks will be created in communities outside the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park, which have stricter rules,” Huws said, “overtourism” being described as an unsustainable number of visitors leading to change progressive nature of affected communities.
âThis will mean an overflow from the park to communities bordering its boundaries, areas that have recently been designated as part of a World Heritage site.
âThe provision of overnight parking spaces for motorhomes will in turn help promote their promotion as tourist destinations, and the disadvantages will outweigh the advantages in these areas, as happened in many of our communities.
âGwynedd council has to accept that there is a limit to development and expansion.
âYou cannot continue in this direction and reach saturation point because of environmental and community costs.
âWe have argued that it is the current levels of tourism that are not sustainable, not the infrastructure, but here we have the Gwynedd consultancy firm introducing a program that expands part of the infrastructure.
“This will set a dangerous precedent for the further development of infrastructure and the promotion of tourism developments.”
Based on a consultation involving RV users and locals, as well as existing tourism business owners, the authority’s own research revealed that there was a need for such continental-style facilities. in the county.
But responding to concerns that opening such âareasâ would divert trade from existing campsites, cabinet members stressed that the needs of RV and RV owners differ from those of more traditional vacationers.
“The high number of people visiting has been a source of concern for some areas, with some deciding to stay in motorhomes in places where there is no legal right to sleep in a vehicle at night,” said Cllr Gareth Thomas, who owns the economic development portfolio. .
âThat is why we are eager to examine measures that can be considered to improve the management of the domain due to the volume of interest and local capacity issues in some of our destinations. “
Environment portfolio holder Cllr Gareth Griffith added: âThis would allow us to see if this arrangement handles the situation better and consider whether it would help us have better management in the county in the future. .
âIt is clear that national laws dating back to the 1960s must take this developing area into account.
âThere is a need to ask whether the legislation is now fit for purpose, so we will send the results of our research to the Welsh government and call on them to urgently review the legislation.