New features help National Botanic Garden of Wales to 17% increase in visitors and record revenues

The National Botanic Garden of Wales recorded a bumper commercial income in the 2016/17 financial year and followed with a record-breaking April for visitors.

Bright future: National Botanic Garden of Wales. Image: Justin Poulsen/Flickr
Bright future: National Botanic Garden of Wales. Image: Justin Poulsen/Flickr

Visitors to the Carmarthenshire garden more than doubled from 9,632 to 19,456 in April. Some 20,000 more people came through the doors between April 2015 and March 2016, compared to the previous year.

Garden membership sign-ups rose 16% and overall commercial revenue rose £174,000, softening the blow of a £89,000 fall in public sector funding.

Director Huw Francis said the future looked bright, adding that the garden has been working hard at broadening its appeal and new developments introduced in 2016 had been popular with both local people and tourists.

"We’ve invested in a new play park, a hay bale maze, water zorbing and a brand new tropical Butterfly House, the development of which has created a huge amount of interest.

"Last year was a big success for us in terms of visitor numbers and commercial return. And this new financial year has started with a bang."

This year the new British Bird of Prey Centre, which the garden is working with Pembrokeshire Falconry to deliver, will further increase footfall, with the garden targeting a 10% year-on-year increases over the next five years.

In March the garden also learnt it had been awarded a £3.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant to restore the garden's Samuel Lapidge-designed waterparks.

It also plans to introduce camping and glamping on the 230 hectare site next year.

Head of development, Rob Thomas said: "The success of this fresh approach is clearly evidenced by last year’s results and the start we’ve made to this year.

"We have big plans for headline-grabbing summer events and these, coupled with the other new ventures, will drive up interest even further and keep people coming back over and over again – all of which will underpin our long-term sustainability and will firmly establish the garden’s position as an iconic, must-see destination and a national asset for all of Wales."

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