: Inquiry Promised on Caves' Lost Visitors; DAN-YR-OGOF: Tourist Board Consultant Will Look at Backlash from Free Entry to Museums

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 2, 2002 | Go to article overview

: Inquiry Promised on Caves' Lost Visitors; DAN-YR-OGOF: Tourist Board Consultant Will Look at Backlash from Free Entry to Museums


Byline: CARL YAPP

FRESH research will be carried out to investigate claims that commercial attractions are suffering in the wake of the decision to give free access to public museums.

The decision to go ahead with the research was taken at a meeting between the directors of the National Museums and Galleries and Ashford Price, owner of The National Showcaves for Wales in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Discussions also touched on a scheme which could allow school pupils free access to privately-run cultural attractions which have been hit by the free-entry policy.

This would mean that an allowance could be given to schools for trips, which would help ailing venues that have educational importance.

The research and the allowance scheme are part of a package of measures dreamed up by the Wales Tourist Board and the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.

Mr Price, whose three caves are 300 million years old, said the meeting was positive.

``The directors from the National Museums and Galleries for Wales appreciate what we have found ourselves in and want to search for a solution,'' he said.

``It was a positive meeting where I showed the directors round the attraction and they stayed for about three hours discussing the problem.

``The research by the tourist board consultant will hopefully show the anomalies the free-entry policy has caused and could mean that something is done to put things right.

``My issue is not with the National Museums and Galleries of Wales. It is with the National Assembly; it has created this policy and it has been left to the Museums and Galleries to cope with the problems.''

Meanwhile, Mr Price said he had received more replies to letters sent to Wales's rich and famous concerning the difficulties facing his business. …

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