1.4 The economics of maintaining a heritage site
The National Trust operates within a complex web of funding. This comes from annual membership fees and from visitor receipts at individual sites. Each National Trust property is responsible for raising the income necessary to fund its own conservation activities and further development (although a large minority of sites cannot cover their costs). Properties raise this income through visitors charges and from catering, shop sales, etc. Failure to raise sufficient income can lead to job losses and the inability to improve facilities or undertake conservation work.
It is therefore important for National Trust properties to increase the volume of visitors, and to maximise the spend-per-head of the visitors they attract.
In the first phase of development at Aberdulais Falls, the emphasis was on the industrial archaeology of the site and on providing visitor access to the area. In the 1990s, the emphasis changed to expanding the amenities and attractions offered by the site.