IWA west Wales branch visit to Bluestone

The west Wales branch visited Bluestone Leisure village in Pembrokeshire for their June meeting to understand the impact of the development on the west Wales economy over the first year of its operation.

£61m has been spent on the development to date, making it the largest public-private partnership in Wales. Attracting new visitors to Pembrokeshire has always been central to the vision of Bluestone – a promise appears to have been fulfilled, with 44 per cent of visitors to-date coming to the county for the first time.

Over a third of visitors travel for more than four hours to reach Bluestone, with 51 per cent classified as ‘wealthy achievers’, bringing significant spending power into the region. This spend is spread around the area, with about 56 per cent leaving the site during the stay.

Currently Bluestone employs over 350 people, 98% from the local area, giving an economic value of £5 million from the jobs alone. 600 suppliers are involved in servicing the village, with 50% being from Wales and 41% from within Pembrokeshire. In terms of the food supplied in the restaurants, bars and shops 845 comes from Wales, with 65% from within Pembrokeshire. Even an element of the energy is purchased locally with Pembrokeshire Bio Energy supplying the heat to the Blue Lagoon. The whole operation has received a Green Dragon level 3 for its environmental management, with the target of achieving the highest grade 5 rating by 2009.

Peter Davies is the IWA's West Wales branch chair.

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