A recent visit by Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Cefin Campbell to meet the management team at the 500-acre Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by the tourism industry in West Wales.
Rebecca Rigby, Director of Operations at Bluestone, and Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility, outlined the challenges that the COVID 19 lockdown period had placed on Bluestone, who employ around 700 members of staff and contribute in excess of £17m per annum directly into the local community through the supply chain and payroll.
Plaid Cymru Pembrokeshire County Councillor and Cabinet Member for the Environment, Welsh Language and Public Protection, Cris Tomos accompanied Cefin on the visit and was impressed with the environmental achievements of Bluestone.
Marten explained that that over 330,000 trees and shrubs have been planted since the resort opened and that two biomass energy units produce 7,000 mwh of low carbon energy per year for the site, giving a saving of over 1,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year compared to conventional energy provision. Marten noted that all food waste from the onsite restaurants and 334 lodges is sent to an anaerobic digestion provision near Cardigan.
Cefin Campbell MS was encouraged to hear about future plans for the resort, including an additional 80 new lodges and a medieval church restoration project, as well as the Blackpool Mill heritage restaurant initiative. Cefin and Cris were also updated on the Bluestone Academy, which launched earlier in the year. Bluestone’s vision is that the Academy will help to transform the perception of the industry to enthuse young people to pursue a career in tourism and hospitality; producing a passionate, highly-skilled and experienced workforce.
Cefin Campbell stated:
“I was really pleased to visit Bluestone with Cris Tomos recently to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the company and the wider tourism industry.
“Bluestone is now a major employer in the area with nearly 700 staff, who are part owners of the company.
“I was very impressed with the company’s model, its record on job creation, staff development and with their plans for the future.
“I am committed to working with companies such as Bluestone, Welsh Government and other partners to support and develop the tourism sector locally and drive economic growth.”
Rebecca Rigby, Director of Operations at Bluestone, added:
“As one of the largest tourism operators in Wales, we were delighted to welcome Cefin and Cris to the resort. It was a great opportunity to update them on our sustainability initiatives, and our ambitious and exciting plans for the future.
We look forward to working with Cefin, Cris, and their colleagues across the Senedd and Pembrokeshire County Council, for the benefit of the tourism industry and wider economy across Pembrokeshire and Wales.”