President Barack Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Wales when he and 60 global delegates attended the NATO Summit on September 4 and 5. He said, “You have a beautiful country with wonderful people and great hospitality. I’d encourage everybody from the States to come to Wales.”
In response to President Obama’s comments, Manon Antoniazzi Chief Executive, Visit Wales remarked, “Wales is always proud of the warm welcome or “croeso” it extends to visitors. We are a land of legends, music, castles, green rolling countryside and spectacular coastline. It has been a special honour to be able to host President Obama in Wales and we have been delighted that the warmth of our welcome has been appreciated. We are especially thrilled that the President has recommended Wales to his fellow Americans as a great destination to visit. We look forward to welcoming back the President – and all American visitors – to Wales in the future.”
In fact, the United States and Wales are bound by an astonishing number of little known historic links, not the least of which is the fact that there have been nine US Presidents with Welsh ancestry, including Welsh-American Thomas Jefferson (http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/welsh-america-links-brilliant-video-7570783).
A compact country of three million with a 30,000-year-old history, Wales is known as a magical land of performers, original thinkers (the microphone, fuel cell, mathematical equals sign and canned beer are all Welsh innovations) and poets like Dylan Thomas, whose centenary is being celebrated with a yearlong festival this year (www.dylanthomas100.org
Wales has proven itself a world leader across generations with accomplishments that delight visitors today. With the opening of The Wales Coast Path, Wales became the first country on the planet with a completely walkable coastline. At 700-feet high and 100 mph, Zip World in North Wales is the world’s fastest and the northern hemisphere’s longest zip wire.
The tiny country boasts three World Heritage sites: the Castles and Town Walls of Edward I in Gwynedd at Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech in north-west Wales; Blaenavon Industrial Landscape in south-east Wales; and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal in north-east Wales.
Wales is a country of extraordinary beauty that is 180 miles long and 70 miles across at its widest point (about the size of New Jersey). Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are four distinct countries that make up the United Kingdom. The people of Wales are called Welsh; many still speak the ancient Welsh language. For more information on Wales, visit www.americas.visitwales.com.