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Castle price hikes will put people off; Cadw blasted as admission prices soar by up to 17%.


THREE of North Wales' most popular castles will have inflation-busting admission price hikes of up to 17%.

Conwy castle will see the biggest rise, going up by PS1 from PS5.75 to PS6.75 for a single adult ticket. Admission to Beaumaris and Caernarfon castles will go up by 75p from PS4.50 to PS5.25 (16%) and PS6 to PS6.75 (12.5%) respectively.

The blow comes at the start of Wales Tourism Week. Prices will be introduced in April, and for Beaumaris the standard adult admission fee will rise above the PS5 barrier for the first time.

Beaumaris town councillor Stan Zalot said: "On its own, PS5.25 doesn't sound like a lot. But in context with other businesses and attractions who may well increase their own prices, by the time you've bought a cup of tea, lunch and paid to visit an attraction, it can be quite an expensive day out. This could have a detrimental affect on visitor numbers and times are already hard. Admission at over PS5 could put people off."

The hikes are expected to raise an additional PS400,000 a year for Cadw as it faces a PS150,000 funding cut from the Welsh Government in 2014-15.

Suzy Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Heritage, said: "At a time when public money is in short supply, many public bodies are making tough decisions and Cadw should not be excluded from measures to reduce the deficit.

"Many families are looking for cheaper days out without travelling too far, but high admission prices could act as a deterrent. Labour ministers are supposed to be trying to widen access to Welsh heritage as part of their anti-poverty agenda, but it is difficult to see how such inflating-busting price hikes will help achieve that. Recent growth in home-grown tourism should be supported and encouraged."

She said increasing prices at 10 times the rate of inflation will be seen as "unfair", pushing admission price for some castles beyond the "psychological PS5 threshold".

She added: "These will significantly increase the cost of a family day out at a time when many are tightening their belts. The increased revenue is expected to more than make up for the government's cuts. We need to hear whether the surplus will be reinvested in upgrading Cadw monuments." A spokesman for Cadw said: "The proposed price of admission remains modest in comparison with similar iconic attractions.

"The rises are important to develop and expand Cadw's services at these key attractions. It is also important to remember that 96 of the 129 Cadw sites are free to access."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 22, 2014
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