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Visit Wales launches latest ‘Year of’ campaign with new and unique outdoor experiences

Cowshed has been working with Visit Wales to help launch its Year of Outdoors.

From extraordinary concerts to pioneering water sports and first-time events, Visit Wales has today (Thursday, 9 January) announced a landmark list of firsts to officially name 2020 as the Year of Outdoors.

Visit Wales will be showcasing a range of new and exclusive experiences over the next year to celebrate the diverse and beautiful outdoor spaces the country has to offer and further cement North Wales’ position as the adventure capital of Europe.

It wants to encourage more people in Wales to let the outdoors in and make 2020 the year they explore the national parks, mountains, coastline and UNESCO World Heritage Sites that shape Welsh culture and identity.

The new experiences and events form part of an extensive calendar of pre-announced events for 2020, including cultural festivals FOCUS Wales in Wrexham and Tafwyl in Cardiff,  adrenalin sport events, the Nitro World Games at the Principality Stadium and the Red Bull Hardline mountain biking in Gwynedd.

Eve Myles, one of Visit Wales’ ambassadors who features in the current Year of Outdoors TV ad, commented: “For me there is something so special about running outdoors in Wales and feeling the landscape under my feet. It’s empowering. Whatever your reason, whatever the weather, the Year of Outdoors is the perfect time to explore more of our beautiful home. How blessed are we to live in such a spectacular country?”

The best in new Welsh music take to the stage for a gig like no other this leap year

To kick off the celebrations, Visit Wales is putting on a gig like no other – in a cavern at Bounce Below merging the lines between outdoors and indoors.

On 29 February, a line-up of current Welsh artists will play underground to a limited number of hard-hat wearing ticket holders, combining Wales’ distinctive terrain with a mix of traditional and modern sounds.

The bill includes rock duo Alffa, who in 2019 became the most streamed Welsh language act ever, Pembrokeshire born fierce and fragile songstress, Bryde and BBC Horizons 12 alumni’s young soul and jazz artist, Kizzy Crawford – it’s set to be bouncing.

Open to all, tickets for the one-off gig will only be available via a prize draw which goes live on Friday, 17 January 2020. The draw will be open until 31 January 2020 with 80 tickets available. FOCUS Wales is co-promoting the gig. Enter here:

Andrew Hudson, commercial director of the soon to be underground venue, said: “We’re really excited to host our first live gig at Zip World Bounce Below. It’s such a cool, unique place and not your usual music venue.

“2020 is such an exciting year for Zip World with our expansion plans moving south to the Cynon Valley. It will be our first location outside of North Wales, we want to do for Welsh coal communities in South Wales what we’ve done for Welsh slate in North Wales and create tourism opportunities to the local area.”

Experience the latest electrifying eFoil water sport – a first for the UK in Wales

Later in the year, Hydrofoil technology is coming to the beautifully sheltered Menai Straits from April 2019.

The latest experience to come to north Wales, one of the world’s adventure capitals, FoilRide (an extension of RibRide in Anglesey) is the only place where water sport enthusiasts can learn to eFoil in the UK, and one of very few in Europe.

eFoil is a surfboard with an electric motor that flies above a hydrofoil wing, giving visitors the chance to fly above water and interact with the beauty of Wales’ iconic waterway without imposing upon it. Only a modicum of balance is required.

Tom Ashwell, co-founder of RibRide said: “We are always looking at ways to expand our offering to visitors, whilst focusing on sustainability. Visitors to FoilRide will get a UK first experience, in an activity that promises true mindfulness.

“Hydrofoiling can be learnt in just one lesson, so it’s a perfect holiday activity and we already have repeat visitors to RibRide on our waiting list. We can’t wait to see perplexed faces watching people magically fly along the Menai Strait!”

RibRide is working with local community groups to identify those interested in offering the FoilRide experience to its members, including Welsh tourism courses, Island Games Sports Ambassadors, mental health charities and disability groups.

Wales’ newest Adventure Festival

Adventure Parc Snowdonia will be staging its first-ever Adventure Festival from 25-27 September. The Festival will showcase on and off-site adventures, including its new pump track which launches in spring, against the backdrop of the spectacular Conwy Valley landscapes.

The programme will include surf taster sessions, adventure themed workshops demonstrations and masterclasses alongside lectures, films, music. Festival goers will also enjoy the best of the region’s food and drink.

There will be glamping on site and campervan pitches for those looking to include the Festival as part of their Wales Way experience.

Andy Ainscough, managing director of Adventure Parc Snowdonia said: “North Wales is regarded as one of Europe’s most exciting destinations for all sorts of adventures, and our adventure festival will bring like-minded people together to explore our great landscapes, take on new challenges and embark on their own new adventures.”

Let the Outdoors In: Global Outdoor Travel Trends 2020

As part of its Year of Outdoors work, Visit Wales has also partnered with leading adventurers, outdoor travel experts, innovators and scholars to reveal the five most significant outdoor travel trends for 2020.

Through expert analysis, real life experiences and an insight into Wales’ outdoor offer, the report explores a host of important global themes. These include; how women are set to engage with the outdoors next year and beyond; a new wave of ‘field to fork’ food tourism; the impact of exhilarating adventures on our mental health, surfing for the psyche and addressing loneliness through walking and interacting with others.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “The Year of Outdoors is about celebrating that inherent connection between Wales’ people and the outdoors. We will be offering visitors the opportunity to experience the outdoors like never before, emphasising the important link between the outdoors and our well-being, and inviting visitors to experience our world-class outdoor offer.”

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