£50 million luxury Welsh “village” aimed at Chinese tourists

Chinese visitors are at the heart of a plan to build a luxury tourist village deep in rural south west Wales at Pantglass Hall according to China-based Maxhard Ltd.

The development, near Llandeilo, would be “marketed to a select international clientele” and would feature a 92-bed hotel, 80 holiday homes with a pool on a 22 acre site in Carmarthenshire. Pantglas Hall, which is a well known timeshare resort, is affiliated to RCI. www.pantglas-hall.co.uk

Approximately 109,000 Chinese visited the UK last year. London was by far the most popular destination and Scotland was also well visited. Tourism leaders in the UK want to tap into the £184 million being spent by Chinese visitors – the figure shows an increase of 40% in five years.

The new resort would be built around the existing lake within the private grounds of Pantglas Hall and Maxhard say it expects 20,000 tourists a year when it’s completed.

Director Tommy Li has made assurances that there will be no over-development of the site. It would be a significant boost for west Wales’ tourism income, and a chance to regenerate the existing Pantglas site and create more long term jobs.

The five storey luxury hotel would incorporate an existing Grade II tower which is the only structure left from the original 19830s hall at the historic Pantglas building. Full facilities would include a restaurant, pool, gym, spa, conference and wedding facilities.

Maxhard already owns a land around the existing timeshare complex of 25 Swiss-style wooden cabins. The cabins would remain but the plan is to build a further 80 new timeshare houses on the development.

Mr Li told BBC Wales this week that his company was developing holiday resorts in countries across the world, including China, Canada and Germany.

He said the resorts were marketed at China’s growing number of international travellers but would also attract visitors from many other countries.

He said research showed most tourists from China knew of England and Scotland, but not many had heard of Wales.

"We are going to bring at least 20,000 Chinese clients each year to Wales."

Architect Lamidi Evbuomwan said the hotel would incorporate the existing listed tower which he said is in need of renovation.

"This is a serious application and we’ve spent almost £500,000 to get to this point. There is a great opportunity to regenerate [the site] and create long-term jobs. We would argue it’s a far more attractive development than 89 timber chalets."

The result of the planning application will be known next year.

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