Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Social media influencers to promote tourism in Torfaen under council plan /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

Social media “influencers” from around South Wales and Bristol are to be used to promote Torfaen as a tourism destination. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The borough council has approved backing the plan, drawn up by the Torfaen Tourism Association, at a cost of £18,500, while the business group is also gathering £1,500 from local community councils and £1,000 from its own member organisations. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As well as getting notable social media account holders to promote the area the campaign will feature a “quirky” map, designed by an artist, that will group local attractions into trails that can be followed in a day or less. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As well as being promoted through social media, and being made available for businesses and other groups to share online, leaflets with the map will be printed and distributed in Torfaen and around south Wales and larger versions will be displayed Blaenavon, Pontypool and Cwmbran to reach local residents. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A freelancer will be taken on to run the campaign, and manage a social media account for 10 months, with the borough council’s contribution coming from its Shared Prosperity Fund award which is UK Government funding that replaces grants previously provided by the European Union. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Torfaen has £180,000, from the fund, over two years, to support tourism promotion. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

According to a report prepared for Torfaen council, destinations such as the Blaenavon World Heritage site and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, as well as Cwmbran Shopping Centre and “specialist ‘attractor” shops in Pontypool and Blaenavon will be pushed in the campaign aimed at day visitors. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report states: “Most of these attractions currently have an approximate dwell time of between an hour and a half-day and, from attraction feedback, visitors rarely move from one attraction to another as part of the same experience. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Joint promotion is a good way to create a ‘day’ or ‘multi-day’ offer for domestic visitors.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The campaign aims to get across that visitors can “travel easily between attractions” as Torfaen is a small area, that most are either free or low cost to visit and there is “access to a diverse range of shops and services; along with an increasing number of food and drink outlets”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As part of the campaign up to £2,000 will be put aside for paying influencers, and for other paid for social media activity, to push the area to followers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report says: “Exploring the area would be promoted to social media influencers from south Wales and Bristol – encouraging them to visit and promote their experiences to their followers.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As part of measuring the performance of the campaign the tourism body will be asked to keep a check on the number of people accessing an influencer’s blog while it is also expected there will be an increase in footfall at attractions, which will be monitored. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The campaign will be officially launched in Cwmbran town centre next Easter, while the map is intended to be ready for approval this autumn and the campaign will run through to December 2024. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Work is due to start this month and the grant was approved by the cabinet member for economy, Councillor Joanne Gauden. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

According to the council “a technical glitch” meant members of its scrutiny committee didn’t receive an email notifying them of the proposal and “urgency” meant Cllr Gauden had to take a decision before they could offer their opinions. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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