Abstract: Fast-growing tourism industries have provided a focus for policymakers and academics concerned with regional and national economic development in periphery areas.
General and, in the context of this paper, event tourism, comprise an important development platform for both periphery rural areas facing a bleak future due to depressed agriculture conditions, and for post-industrial and urban areas seeking new industries to replace traditional employment in manufacturing and slow growth service industries.
The promotion of tourism and leisure service industries as a regional growth driver, particularly in peripheral regions, may ignore certain underlying industry characteristics.
Often tourism features low wages and unskilled labor, lessening income-related demand effects, and, further, militating against the development of a highly skilled workforce.
Moreover, external ownership of large tourism concerns, together with an underdeveloped local tourism infrastructure can limit the contribution of new tourism activity to regional growth prospects.
This paper compares and contrasts the impacts of three very different cases of tourism development in Wales. The first case examines the sustainable visitor-related impacts of Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, an exceptionally well-preserved industrial heritage site in the South Wales coalfield.
The area has recently received World Heritage Site status and is to undergo significant preservation works and the development of visitor facilities in the next few years.
The second case is the now well-established annual Brecon Jazz festival in mid-Wales. This internationally renowned event attracts 50,000 visitors per annum to a rural setting that faces increasing difficulties in traditional agricultural activities and is searching for diversification opportunities.