Whilst in Paris, promoting Welsh business and culture, Eluned made the case for Blaenau Ffestiniog to be recognised by UNESCO for its unique slate landscape.
The area, steeped in heritage and industrial history boasts vast slate quarries and mines, which have not only shaped the countryside of the region, but also countless buildings across the UK and the world.
If successful, the landscape would become the fourth world heritage site in Wales, joining the Blaenavon industrial landscape, Harlech castle and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
In 2016, it was estimated that UNESCO-designated sites in the UK bring more than £100million into the economy each year.
Whilst at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, Eluned met with Matthew Lodge, Minister and Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO; and Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, to discuss the bid further.
The AM For Mid & West Wales said she hopes the status would help “revive and grow the economy” of the slate areas.
“Blaenau Ffestiniog is rich in geological, social, economic and cultural heritage, and it’s said that this area of Gwynedd roofed the 19th century world, with huge amounts of slate mined in the area and exported internationally.
“More recently, Blaenau Ffestiniog has been put back on the map. Significant Welsh Government and EU investment has transformed the former slate-town into a booming tourism destination. Popular leisure activities such as Zip World and Bounce Below have made the quarry their home, attracting thousands of visitors a year, boosting employment and the local economy.
“While the final decision lies with UNESCO, the area absolutely merits World Heritage Site status.”
Beyond the bid, Eluned also discussed opportunities for future Welsh Government engagement with UNESCO, along with the International Strategy for Wales and the UN Year of Indigenous Languages.