Promoting the Barry Riviera

Barry suffers from a branding problem.

Speak to people who may live away but have heard of it from the BBC TV show ‘Gavin & Stacey’ and there is a degree of positive affection. Other positive supporters of Barry would celebrate its beautiful beaches, its headlands with great views and more.

Yet speak to many other people in South Wales, outside of Barry, and you can often get a different reaction.There is a perception of a downmarket seaside resort: a ‘S---hole’ is one very coarse observation.

Sure, there is a ‘Kiss-Me-Quick’ culture (which I actually quite like, so long as its done well.) But there is also a run-down fairground, a lack of an iconic family tourist attraction, and not much else to do on a wet day (although do try the Laserquest and the Children’s Playjungle.)

In brand image management we need to ask the question: has Barry got the reputation it deserves?

One of the challenges we face in tackling Barry’s image problems is that the human brain cannot hold two contradictory views in its head at the same time. If you tell someone who has a negative view about Barry that ‘Barry is a good place to visit’ they will filter any new information through their filter of negativity.

So, we cannot meet objections head-on. Instead, you need to shift the focus, provide a different way of engaging. That is why everyone in Barry should consider getting behind the ‘Barry Riviera’ campaign - promoting a place offering sun, sand, sea, surfing and sailing from its three resorts and five beaches.

Promoting the ‘Barry Riviera’ will boost tourism and show it offers more than just Barry Island.

The ‘Barry Riviera’ includes the Barry Island, the Knap and Porthkerry visitor attractions, boasting five beaches at Jackson’s Bay, Whitmore Bay, the Old Harbour and Watchtower Bay, the Cold Knap, and Porthkerry beach

The campaign has the potential to create an Internet buzz featuring a free ‘Barry Riviera’ poster and artwork downloadable from the Barry campaign group Pride in Barry from web site at It is designed to complement the wider marketing of the area’s Heritage Coast by the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend local authorities.

By the way, I managed to pull in a few favours and get the business where I work part-time, Working Word Communications in Cardiff, to do some free design work.

The French and the South West of England have their own ‘Rivieras’ – why not have one here in South Wales, around Barry and its five beaches?

The campaign also captures the irreverent character of Barry people, who pride themselves on not taking themselves too seriously.

We want potential visitors talking about Barry - creating a buzz on Twitter and the Internet - and also ensure tourists appreciate there is more to Barry than only the Island.

I am very proud of our resort and want to share it with family visitors far and wide, as a great place to visit and to live.

What do you think?
edited on Sep 4, 2012 by Barry Ideas Bank

Ade Pitman Dec 1, 2012

Barry town is blessed with a raft of historic features ( dinosaur footprints, the largest coal exporting town in the world at one time, the home of the steam train restoration movement and much more), but there is no facility which promotes this. It is no wonder that Barry has become synonomous with kiss-me-quick 'lets go to the beach it`s sunny' tourism - but what happens when it rains? Barry suddenly looses it`s one draw. The beach.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council commisioned consultants to complie an Options Appraisel into potential locations for a Heritage Centre. The Vale Heritage Centre Coalition ( of which I am Caretaker Chair) contributed to this, and also attended the workshops.

I am unsure at this time as to what progress has been made since the findings of the Options Appraisel were made public.

The Vale Heritage Centre Colalition proposed a combined Arts & Heritage Centre at a key building, near suitable footfall. This would attract funding streams from both Arts & Heritage, and be a move towards moving away from the 'kiss-me'quick' / social depravation name that Barry currently has.

The document 'Investing in success: Heritage and the UK tourism economy ' states the following regarding heritage tourism:
• 4 in 10 overseas leisure visitors cite heritage as the primary motivation for
their trip to the UK – more than any other single factor
• £12.4bn is spent not just at heritage attractions themselves (eg entrance fees
or in a museum shop) but includes broader spending ‘motivated’ by visiting
heritage attractions (eg eating out or accommodation)
• The £12.4bn heritage expenditure consists of:
£7.3bn based on visits to built heritage attractions and museums
£5.1bn based on visits to natural heritage, ie parks and the countryside
• Domestic tourism is the main component of the £12.4bn spend – 60% comes
from UK residents on day trips and UK holidays
• The direct GDP contribution of heritage tourism (ie wages and profits earned
by tourism businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as
heritage attractions themselves) is estimated at £7.4bn a year
• Once economic multiplier impacts are added to the £7.4bn (ie income earned
by suppliers to tourism businesses) the total GDP contribution of heritage
tourism is calculated as £20.6bn a year.

Barry could benefit from some of this......

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