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Talking to the Government 04/10/2012

The Visit Wales sponsored Wales Activity Tourism Organisation (WATO), met with John Griffiths, Minister for Environment & Sustainable Development, on the 3rd October at Ty Hywel Government offices, Cardiff Bay.

The meeting with the minister and his officials was to highlight the opportunities presented to the outdoor sector in Wales by the creation of the new Single Environment Body for Wales which will bring together the Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and Environment Agency Wales into a single organisation from April next year.

WATO were represented by Tom Luddington from the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Group, Snowdonia-Active's CEO, Chris Wright, and Gary Evans for the South Wales Activity Providers Group.

The main point WATO wanted to make to the minister and his officials was: "The fundamental requirement for all those engaging in outdoor activities in Wales, be they national governing body members, tourism businesses, schools, education centres or individual citizens, is that they all need sustainable access to a high quality environment."

Tom Luddington, commented: "The minister was was very positive about the importance of the outdoor sector in Wales and the role it plays in economic development through tourism businesses and in the provision of high quality experiences for residents of Wales."

Chris Wright, said: "He demonstrated a clear understanding of how important access to the countryside is to the sector and confirmed that access sits very firmly within his portfolio."

"He reassured us that he and his officials are working hard to ensure that sustainable access to the outdoors will be a clear priority within the new Single Environment Body."

Chris Wright, added: "The minister also reassured us that our approach was well timed, as the new single body was in the process of appointing a senior management team and he committed to arranging an early opportunity for WATO to meet with that team, to begin the process of ensuring the needs of the sector are fully integrated into the new organisation."

See the WATO website for more information about the organisation and their ideas for a Wales Outdoor Recreation Network.

Photo: Ty Hywel building, in Cardiff Bay, home to the Welsh Govenment Pauline Eccles licensed under a creative commons licence

Topic: Wales Activity Tourism Organisation, WATO, Outdoor Sector in Wales.

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