Cardiff– Despite a multi-million pound campaign to boost tourism, Wales is “standing still” in attracting foreign tourists, an expert has said.

Renowned travel writer Simon Calder said that it was really concerning that visitor spending dropped by 17 per cent at a time when the pound was weak, the BBC reported.

A record 39.2 million visitors came to the UK in 2017 but headed mainly to London and Scotland, new figures show.

The numbers of foreign tourists rose by 0.5 per cent but their spendings dropped by 17 per cent in the 12 months. Five million pounds was spent on the “Year of Legends” campaign, which aimed to give visitors legendary experiences.

“These figures are really concerning for the Wales tourism industry. Scotland in particular has done very well while Wales is effectively standing still,” Calder said.

The tourism analysis published by the Welsh Government describes UK-wide increases being driven by visitors from north America and non-European countries.

Overall, 20 million headed for London (up 4 per cent from 2016) and 3.2 million for Scotland (up 17 per cent). In comparison, there were only 1.1 million visitors to Wales (up 0.5 per cent).

The lack of flights from major countries meant Wales was regarded as “an add on” to a trip to England rather than a destination in its own right, Calder added.

The Wales Tourism Alliance described the figures as “disappointing”. (IANS)