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Tourism is to blame.

SIR - Sam Burson's article (Oct 17) on 'winter ghost town syndrome' missed the true culprit - tourism itself.

In the Welsh climate tourism will always be largely seasonal. Yet politicians are allowed to promote tourism as 'the economic salvation of rural Wales' (and use it as an excuse to avoid providing 'real' jobs), so winter ghost towns are inevitable.

Then there's the problem of low wages. No one working in a seasonal, low wage economy can hope to compete in their local housing market with those settling after having first visited as tourists. And not just retiring, but buying holiday homes, hotels, pubs, shops, etc.

This influx, added to the numbers of young Welsh people leaving, is having a damaging effect on Welsh identity. Just visit coastal towns like Rhyl and Barmouth, and listen to the 'locals' - you'd think you were in England!

Tourism in Wales is a disaster - if you're Welsh. Welsh people get the crumbs from their own table and are being turned into strangers in their own country by the influx tourism encourages.

We Welsh have endured decades of propaganda for the tourism industry; it's about time we had an objective assessment of tourism, one that will look at the full picture.

ROYSTON JONES

Abergynolwyn, Tywyn, Gwynedd
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 26, 2005
Words:209
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