Members of the Saundersfoot Chamber for Tourism (SCT) reflected on another successful year at their Annual General Meeting last Monday. The organisation comprises of volunteer members from the local business community and aims to promote Saundersfoot as a tourist destination for the benefit of the whole village community.
The AGM, held at St Bride's Spa Hotel, heard a report from Chair Phil Odley on a wide range of Chamber-co-ordinated activities and initiatives. Highlights from the year included the Christmas Festival, which was re-launched for 2017 as the "Coastal Christmas". The festival boasted a Santa's Grotto and live performances in the expanded "music box" arena as well as the traditional Christmas market and lantern parade. Coastal Christmas attracted record numbers of visitors and played a major role in promoting Saundersfoot as a year-round destination. The Autumn Big Bang weekend featured a well-received "Little Bang" children's firework display in addition to the spectacular Big Bang event which was considered to be the best ever display. The Chair was particularly pleased to report that Chamber membership has increased rapidly and has now reached 75. Phil is keen to receive further applications and to achieve his membership target of 100.
Vice Chair and Finance Lead Michael Slade confirmed that, despite the financial challenges posed by the backing of new and bigger events, the Chamber accounts remain in positive balance. The weather-enforced cancellation of the popular Cawl Competition was particularly challenging but income from the Christmas draw and sale of the unique 2018 Cawl bowls (available from SCT outlets) had compensated.
Marketing Lead Dilys Hackett's report also demonstrated a progressive and proactive approach to the promotion of Saundersfoot. The Chamber successfully deploys a wide range of media including radio campaigns, a re-designed website and a popular Facebook page which now has over 10,000 followers with individual posts often achieving a reach of 50,000. A new SCT logo has been designed and enthusiastically approved by members. An ambitious future marketing plan includes the launch of an Instagram presence and aims for further development of the new Coastal Christmas theme. The theme was launched in 2017 with completely re-designed advertising featuring "Cedric the Seagull" and will be a key element of the continued promotion of Saundersfoot as a major attraction for visitors in December. The plan also targets the development of a year-round identity, with the use of bunting and flags. The future identity of the village will be built on its year-round vibrancy, natural beauty and eco-friendliness. This has already been established through initiatives such as Compostible Coffee Cups, which will be used in all Saundersfoot coffee outlets from this season.
In a presentation about the work of the community support organisation PLANED, the charity's representative Kate Lindley described Saundersfoot as a "vibrant, forward-thinking place" . Ms Lindley said that the village is often cited as a model for community initiatives and is visited by other villages across Wales who are looking for inspiration. PLANED specialise in facilitating locally integrated and sustainable developments. They have supported several Chamber projects and were closely involved with the re-development of the Regency Hall community centre. Ms Lindley praised the work of the Chamber in helping to develop a cohesive and positive community in Saundersfoot.
The meeting concluded with thanks to Sara Hicks for her work on the Winter draw and Dilys Hackett for her work on marketing. Heartfelt appreciation was conveyed to Michael Slade for his energetic and imaginative work as Vice Chair. Mike is stepping down from his Vice Chair position but will continue as Finance Lead.
The new committee elected to take SCT forward over the coming year comprises of:-
Debbie Apperley, Andrew Evans, Lindsey Evans, Sue Griffiths, Stephen Hart, Dilys Hackett, Sara Hicks, Dean Ludlow, Phil Odley (Chair), Michael Slade (Treasurer), Trevor Woods
Report by Alan Jones,SCT