Tourism... ( Facts and Figures )

The following models show how the parks income is derived and the changes that have occured during the period 1994 - 2000.

Model 1 (1993 / 94)
Model 2 ( 2000)

Margam Country Park has long been marketed as entertainment for the whole family. With a view to change and place greater emphasis on the parks heritage, its restored gardens and wide open spaces, it is thought that the park advertising leaflet which is distributed throughout South Wales should change accordingly.


Who visits the park...

Margam has long been a attraction with many travellers including Margam in their late eighteenth century tours, publishing accounts of their journeys which were often illustrated by artisits who accompanied them.

These travel groups were extremely popular with the upper and middle classes, those who could take the time for leisure and could travel widely.

Thomas Mansel Talbot owner of the Margam Estate, on his coming of age in 1768, promptly left on a grand tour of Europe, spending the next four years almost entirely abroad visiting France and Italy with much time spent in Florence, Turin, Naples and Rome.

A distinguished visitor to Margam in August 1802 was Admiral Lord Nelson, who admired the collection of orange trees and gave the gardener a tip of three shillings.

Following the building of margam castle, its owner C R M Talbot, complained of the number of people arriving to view the house, like his father he travelled widely on the continent and spent much time on the mediterrainean aboard his yacht.

By the middle of the nineteenth century with the developments of the railway system more people took the oportunity to travel and take the occassional day trip. Railway companies laid on trains to encourage short day trips with special fares to popular destinations. Margam Park admitted visitors on special days such as the annual cottege garden flower show.

It was the seaside resorts that whitnessed the greatest expansion of tourist traffic with the occassional day trip to nearby stately houses, abbeys, castles and other sites of interest.

In the twentieth century the advent of the motor car with its greater mobility providing door to door service has had the most profound effect on tourism areas, especially in the countryside where attractions were difficult to reach have become accessible to large numbers of visitors Increased car ownership since the 1950s has lead to a great increase in motorway holidays, and in particular day trips to attrac tions such as Margam.

Visitor Survey...

Margam has numerous attractions. Visitors may come to view the gardens, attend a concert or simply to enjoy the scenery. However to meet all their needs, the visitor will expect certain extra facilities. These include:

  • A car park
  • Toilets
  • Good signposting to help visitors find thier way around the site
  • Refreshment facilities ( the quality of food and drink available is an important factor determining visitor satisfaction within the site as a whole)
  • Souvenir Shop
  • Interpretation ( the form of leaflets / guidebooks enabling the visitor to understand the site)

Attractions must also cater for those with special needs. Margam has recently installed ramps to allow access from the car park to the castle and the park beyond. In addition knowledgeable friendly staff are essential to customer satisfaction.

Tourist centres need to meet the demands of the customers and satisfy their needs. A customer who enjoys their visit is more likely to return and recommend the attraction to their friends. Centre managers aim to meet these needs and to do this there is a need to obtain basic information about the customers and their views on the particular attraction.

In early August 1999 a survey of visitors to Margam was undertaken over several days with 199 people interviewed as they left the park. The following results were obtained.


Reason for visits

  1. Family outing
  2. Fairytale land
  3. Walks / trails
  4. Occupy children
  5. Animals
  6. Walk dog
  7. Cycling
  8. Scenery
  9. Pony Club
  10. Picnic

Most Enjoyable Aspect

  1. Fairytale LAnd
  2. Scenery
  3. Animals
  4. Childrens Farm
  5. Activities
  6. Walks / Trails
  7. Castle
  8. Gardens
  9. Relaxation
  10. Maze
Disappointing Aspects of Visit / Suggestions for Improvements
  1. More bins / litter patrol
  2. Attractions open later
  3. More activities / attractions for children
  4. More picnic areas
  5. Improved access for disabled
  6. Sheltered areas
  7. Restore / Open Castle
  8. Better map
  9. More toilets
  10. Childrens playground / horse riding / pony trekking


Graph Displaying Visitors figures for Margam 1990 - 2000

An average of 178000 people a year visited Margam during the period 1990 - 2000. Attendances year to year can show great variation and in recent years have declined. These variations can be due to a number of factors.

  • There is an obvious need for generally fine weather between May and September when most holiday trips are taken.
  • Wet bank holiday weekends can have major effect on visitor numbers
  • The attractions at Margam are mainly outdoor with little to occupy visitors ini nwet weather
  • High profile events such as pop concerts can greatly increase figures
  • The launch of a new attraction can greatly increase figures. It is anticipated that the restoration of ???? gardens will prove such an attraction.
  • Boredom with familier attractions
  • Todays visitors demand new attractions and without investment visitor numbers will decline.
  • The park needs effective marketing with promotional and advertising campaigns to help maintain visitor figures.
  • Increasing competition from rival attrations and price of entrance fee may deter visitors
  • Unexpected events such as the foot and mouth outbreak has severly restricted access
  • Free entry into rival attractions such as The Museum of Welsh life at St Fagans brings unwanted competition,

What we have learned about tourist attractions

  • Parks such as margam need large amounts of visitors
  • Repeat visitors suggest customoer satisfaction
  • Cost a great deal of money
  • Need good access
  • Good links with the local community
  • Good publicity and marketing
  • Changing and new attractions
  • Good facilities, well maintained
  • Enthusiastic staff
  • Competative with rival tourist attractions
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