Wales can walk its way to a healthy economy

Research unveiled today (12 July) by Ramblers Cymru shows the powerful role walking plays in the Welsh economy.

The report found that in 2009 an estimated 28 million walking trips were made to the Welsh countryside contributing £632 million in direct spending to the Welsh economy and supporting around 11,980 person-years of employment. These findings highlight the huge contribution that walking makes to the Welsh economy and the importance of both protecting and enhancing walking activity in Wales.

Conducted at Cardiff University, ‘The Economic Impact of Walking and Hill Walking in Wales’ sets out the value of walking tourism in Wales; highlighting the links between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the countryside. The research also measures the value of current public access in Wales. With the opening of the All Wales Coastal Path in May 2012, this data can be used to show the added value the path will bring to increased employment and the Welsh economy and show why increased public access is not just good for walkers but good for Wales too.

Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru, said: “Walking has so many benefits; from health and well-being to sustainable transport and now this research has made it clear that walking has huge benefits for the economy and employment too.

“In order to harness these benefits in Wales it is vital that we continue to protect and promote walking opportunities and the walking environment. We want Wales to be an enticing destination for walkers everywhere and for our footpaths and walking infrastructure to be the envy of the walking world.”

The report was commissioned by Ramblers Cymru, Visit Wales, the British Mountaineering Council and the Countryside Council for Wales and can be read in full here.