A TOURISM chief believes that the way 20mph speed limits are perceived in Wales could be the 'biggest concern' for the sector.

Since September 2023, the majority of residential roads throughout Wales have changed from 30mph to 20mph.

The Welsh Government says that the change was made with the aim of 'helping to save lives'.

However, the move faced unprecedented backlash with over 460,000 people signing a petition calling for it to be reversed.

This month, fresh concerns have been raised by residents, politicians and business owners alike over the impact that the speed limits are having on Wales' tourism sector.

This week, we caught up with Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism, to hear his views on the matter.

In his role as CEO, Mr Jones has been on a mission to sell North Wales to the world.

But, the ex-Welsh Guardsman has warned that the 20mph speed limits could already be causing some issues for the sector.

Mr Jones says that, although he is supportive of the speed limits outside schools and busy residential areas, he feels that the way the Welsh Government has implemented and communicated the blanket 20mph policy has been very poor.

He added: “I really hope this policy won’t have an impact on tourists visiting Wales, as life in the tourism and hospitality sector is hard enough as it is at the moment, with many reports of forward booking being very slow.”

“My biggest concern is the one of perception, not just for our sector but also for inward investment. The perception of excessive speed restrictions may give the impression that North Wales is not a tourist or business-friendly destination, potentially deterring visitors who seek a more relaxed and enjoyable travel experience.

“Tourists accustomed to higher speed limits in other regions may find the 20mph restriction frustrating and time-consuming, adding to confusion. This could lead to negative reviews and deter future visitors from choosing North Wales as a travel destination.

“Other tourist destinations with traffic policies visitors are more used to may become more attractive to travellers seeking a hassle-free experience. The reputation of North Wales and Wales as a tourist destination could suffer in comparison to our competitors.”

In response to concerns raised about tourism in Wales, a spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: "Like many places across the UK, including tourist hot spots such as Cornwall, the introduction of 20mph limits in residential and built-up areas is designed to save lives.

“This policy received cross party support in the Senedd. A final report on the pilot areas and the first three months of roll-out will be published shortly.”