Ed Parsons

Head of Visitor Services

Ed has joined CAT following fifteen years developing visitor experiences and commercial opportunities at both Llyn Brenig and Elan Valley for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. Responsible for managing catering, retail and accommodation, Ed is passionate about delivering excellent customer service and exceeding visitors expectations.

Ed has lived in Wales since studying Social Policy at Cardiff University and developed a particular research interest in rural crime and social isolation and his experience of dealing with anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping inspired him to explore how to address such problems during his postgraduate diploma in Countryside Management at Bangor University. As part of this course he travelled independently to the Peruvian Andes for a month to study the impact of eco-tourism in two remote communities.

He has extensive practical experience of working in a fast-paced visitor centre environment combined with the challenges of managing access and recreation across a large estate. During his career with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water he developed the team and facilities at both Llyn Brenig and Elan Valley by focusing upon market trends and capitalising on the assets of each site. This resulted in a much improved visitor experience along with an increase in both visitor numbers and income. He implemented year round opening and developed an annual programme of events, increasing visitor numbers to 200,000. He was responsible for promoting Elan Valley as a filming location, securing valuable contracts with Universal Pictures, The Huntsman Winter’s War, BBC Top Gear and drama The Game and S4C Hinterland. He also worked with Jaguar Land Rover who hosted 900 journalists at Elan Sawmill for lunch during 2013, the global press launch of the new Range Rover Sport. He created a new unique wedding venue on the central tower of Pen y Garreg dam and also hosted wedding receptions at the historic sawmill.

Ed enjoys developing partnerships to achieve more together, he passionately developed the Elan Valley Landscape Partnership which after four years and numerous setbacks and challenges managed to secure a £1.6million bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Elan Links, Landscape Scale Heritage Conservation project. Whilst at Elan Valley he chaired the Cambrian Mountains Tourism Network, in partnership with Visit Wales, led on developing the destination, secured grant funding for a paid part-time role to facilitate engagement events and managed the delivery of the destination action plan.

Outside of work Ed enjoys exploring off the beaten track, walking, climbing and canoeing. He also has a passion for working with wood, from large construction projects and chainsaw carving to more intricate toy making for his two daughters.