‘Barking mad’ Visit Wales tourism push targets dogs

Wales launches tourism ad for dogsVisit Wales is taking a novel – or some might say barking mad – approach to showcasing the country as a top tourist destination by targeting dogs, with a new marketing campaign that uses imagery and sounds that canines love.

The campaign uses a range of immersive features that will appeal directly to four-legged friends, including enhanced blue and yellow colours – the colours that dogs are able to see – as well as sounds that dogs will recognise such as panting, whistling, barking and jingling keys.

The ad content even includes holiday visuals from a dog’s perspective, showcasing what a dog could see on a trip to Wales, thanks to a dedicated doggy-cam. Naturally, one of the biggest challenges will be to get man’s best friend to actually pay attention.

With over 20,000 miles of walking trails across the Welsh coastline and countryside, as well as hundreds of dog-friendly accommodation options, pubs and attractions, Wales insists it has a lot to offer couples, families, friends and solo travellers who have a dog in their lives.

Whether tourists are looking for an activity packed outdoor getaway, a relaxing stay by the coast or a calming rural retreat complete with a country pub pitstop, Visit Wales believes there is something for every dog owner and is urging holidaymakers to book their next stay, while ensuring they remain mindful of wildlife and farm animals, and maintain responsible ownership of their dogs By always remembering to follow the Dog Walking Code.

Dogs Trust head of canine behaviour Jenna Kiddie said: “So many of us now share our lives with a dog and it’s great to get out with them and explore all that Wales has to offer. From the mountains and forests, to exploring dog friendly beaches, visiting picturesque towns, and enjoying meals in a traditional Welsh pub, there are a wealth of places for people to responsibly enjoy in Wales with their dogs by their sides.

“However, it’s important to remember that while dogs do enrich our lives, they also bring with them a level of responsibility. We urge dog owners to consider their surroundings, particularly when visiting areas where they might encounter wildlife or livestock.  When visiting rural areas, owners should keep their dogs under control and ensure they do not worry other animals or stray from the path, as well as dispose of their dog’s waste appropriately.

“And, of course, always check the weather forecast, and if it’s too warm, consider leaving your dog at home in the cool. Heat stroke makes dogs very poorly, and in some cases, can prove fatal.”

With research showing over a third of UK households (31%) own at least one canine companion, and with findings also revealing that many  people can’t bear the thought of holidaying without them, the market for dog friendly tourism is on the rise. Last year, the UK saw a 36% increase in dog-friendly bookings across the UK, with families craving canine-loving holidays closer to home.

As part of the project, Visit Wales put out a casting call for dog owners across the country to submit pictures of their pets for the chance to be featured in the ad campaign, receiving nearly 4,000 entries and six lucky winners chosen.

Hanna Tudor, property manager at Sealands Cottages, a dog friendly accommodation provider in South Wales, said: “We’re delighted that Visit Wales is showcasing our fantastic country as a great holiday destination for dog owners across the UK and beyond.

“A large proportion of the people who book our cottages also bring their dogs with them on holiday, so this is a massive market for us. We take great pride in the fact that we are dog friendly and offer the little things that make all the difference when holidaying with your dog. We are looking forward to supporting more people to come and explore Wales and get the message out there it is the perfect destination for dogs and their owners.”

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