Category Archives: Tourism

WAG seriously misses Ryder Cup plot

As a newly naturalised citizen, the recent display of rain-soaked arrogance and sloth masquerading as the business and economic development disaster for Wales also known as The Ryder Cup was an unmitigated PR and financial disaster. Even without the rain, the government built this up to a level of expectation only the 2012 Olympics could surpass.
We should have had a few hints of our true standing when BBC network covering Pope Benedict’s arrival in Edinburgh. His Holiness was greeted by Scottish First Minster Alex Salmond. The BBC commentator then asked who the white haired gentleman standing next to Alex was, then greeting the Pope. It was Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones. Oops!
While there was a gripping Monday finish, few in the target US and Canada markets saw it. Sadly, most will only again see it as a highlights show in two years because of the foolhardy decision to play the tournament on a hilly, poorly draining Parklands course in October. That the officials then tried to lamely blame the US PGA Tour’s FedEx playoff calendar for the late start (only two weeks later than past contests) was a last gasp effort to save their backsides. Ironically, Royal Porthcawl, a tough jewel of a links course that could have truly tested the Ryder Cup players, remained open Friday and Sunday all day.
Even branding will not save team Wales. All references to the location of the previous Ryder Cup European contest are to the K-Club just as they will be to Celtic Manor. Ireland like Wales will be soon forgotten. Wales stands a slightly better chance to be remembered for the poor weather.
So the irony is Wales will be remembered for the one thing it was hoping not to have as a legacy… rain. While an admitted source of national pride to see Wales favourably displayed on SKY, the Monday live audience from 01:00-09:00 am in the USA and around the world was missing and presumed dead.
Also missing from the coalition’s recently released list of quangos headed for the dustbin was the Welsh Assembly Government itself who spent some £50 million pounds to bring the Ryder Cup to Wales. That same WAG boasted 2 billion homes would watch the cup, which was curious since only 6.6 million watched it globally in 2008.
And that same WAG boasted tourism benefits and indeed touted a figure saying that some 700 rounds of golf were played on courses around Celtic Manor. First Minster, for half the amount you spent, all 700 players could have been flown here and home by private jet and stayed in 5-star hotels.
Indeed if you owned a golf course west of Swansea by now (if ever at all) all golfers and fans have returned home. Too, the much touted website has not been updated since before the event and will, like the £1.1 million pound advert buy and glossy brochures for Wales to sell golf in Wales across the UK on SKY is also likely to be swept into the dustbin of failed campaigns. Why Wales were not advertising on the PGA Channel, ESPN (Friday coverage) and NBC Saturday and Sunday coverage to reach an audience outside the UK is perplexing.
The circus has left town, tents are folded away, Wales has been dry since the infamous washout weekend and questions persist about Return on Investment (ROI) and our woefully inadequate business attraction record.
Not a word appeared in twelve days on the government’s Twitter feed. Not one figure has appeared talking about projected economic development benefits. Even the opposition is silent on the waste in advance of the coming budget cuts.
Having been dismissed as a curmudgeon over my comments, the questions remain. Who, beyond Sir Terry, his resort, hotels, bars and restaurants benefitted from £115 per day tickets and a complete no-golf Friday washout? The course on Monday could have handled another 10-12K visitors yet the Friday contingent was out of luck and could not come Monday.
Looking for a £150-£200 million (A standard 3 or 4:1) return on investment in the form of new jobs for the Valleys and across Wales? Don’t hold your breath. But hey, Team Wales did well in the Commonwealth Games and there will be enough magician’s misdirection to go around for months. Remember we have a 5-day cricket test match next year with Sri Lanka, European Cup football qualifiers, Six Nations rugby and Olympics 2012.
By then we will all say Sir Samuel who? The Ryder what? Aaah – it’s good to be king in a land of no accountability.

By Denis G Campbell of UKProgressive. Republished from Cambria magazine with permission