New figures show £118m per year is brought into the local economy in Wrexham County via an increase in tourism, an uptick of nearly 2% in the last year.
Local tourism is fronted by Wrexham Council working alongside the ‘This Is Wrexham Partnership’ – a collective board of local hotels, attractions and event providers all with the common aim of increasing the visitor experience and promotion of the County.
Data submitted by local tourism operators in Wrexham County Borough has shown an ‘encouraging’ 1.7% growth in visitor spend in the last year, with a total of £117.7m being brought into the County in 2017. However, since 2010 – this also shows a growth of almost 40% making the County one of the strongest performers in Wales.
Figures for 2017, badged as the ‘Year of Legends’ in Wales, saw popular tourism focussed events such as FOCUS Wales, ComicCon, the Drive-In Cinemas, Rock the Park, Underneath the Arches, the Olly Murs gig at the Racecourse Ground and the popular Christmas programme in town – with 2018 seeing the Wrexham Food Festival later this month also coming under the tourism banner for the first time.
The local area has also developed a strong reputation for good quality food & drink, with independent restaurants such as the Hand at Llanarmon and the Machine House featuring in the UK Michelin guide, and breweries such as Wrexham Lager and the Big Hand continuing to promote the areas name far & wide. In addition, investment in the sector by the This Is Wrexham Partnership and the subsequent launch of their tourism card and marketing programme is attributed to as helping the figures.
Comparing the data regionally, North Wales as a whole saw a growth of 4.7% reflecting the popularity of the whole region as a leading staycation destination within the UK.
Data provided shows visitor numbers are up in the County, with a 3% growth in day visitors with 1.48m visiting local attractions and events, and 1.89m visitors overall. Overnight stays are down by -0.3%, however that is being attributed as possibly being related to HMP Berwyn construction completing with midweek bookings for construction workers no longer being there.
Commenting further on the latest figures (generated by Global Tourism Solutions) Destination Manager at Wrexham County Borough Council Joe Bickerton said: “It’s once again really encouraging to see a further growth in visitor spend here in Wrexham County. Each year, we try and encourage and support new investment in the sector along with events which have the potential to attract new visitors into the area. Once visitors arrive, many comment about either how attractive, welcoming or accessible Wrexham County is – so our aim in the Local Authority is to use what finance we can access to keep enhancing these first impressions and visitor welcome in line with our new Destination Action Plan.”
Speaking about the positive annual results, lead member for the economy at Wrexham County Borough Council Terry Evans said: “These latest results are further good news for the tourism sector in Wrexham County Borough. I have seen myself how the town and the County has benefitted from the growth in visitor numbers in recent years and I hope that these positive statistics encourage further investment and growth in the sector going forward. It’s also encouraging in particular to see a growth in our events programme which we have worked hard to promote. Both of these generally bring more income for our local businesses here in the County and I can only see figures for 2018 growing again”.
These comments were echoed by the new Chair of the This Is Wrexham Tourism Partnership, Sam Regan from the Lemon Tree Restaurant in town. Sam said: “Each year, Wrexham County keeps raising its game, but the collective ‘togetherness’ of tourism businesses within the area is so encouraging. Year on year the data gathered from local operators and national surveys justifies Wrexham’s growth as a tourism destination and more visitors continue to choose this area as either a base to explore North Wales from – or for days out at our local attractions or events.”
“In this last year, the Tourism Partnership and the tourism team at Wrexham County Borough Council have collaborated on a number of initiatives and events – all of which have aimed to keep us competitive and attractive to visitors. This summer, we also re-launched our tourism card which aims to firstly continue the marketing support for hotels, restaurants and attractions and generate funding to put back into other funding bids, marketing, business support and visitor events.”
Employment within the tourism sector also continues to grow, with Wrexham County supporting 1,640 full-time hospitality jobs, with the information release keen to note: “One of the recent successes has been that graduates from the Tourism & Events degree course at Glyndwr University are finding skilled jobs locally.”
Recent graduate Francesca Mairs finished the course in 2017 and has since started work as wedding & events coordinator at Llyndir Hall Hotel in Rossett. Francesca said: “Studying tourism at Glyndwr University allowed me to develop a greater insight into the career paths within this area, and we were constantly offered opportunities to network with local businesses and explore the potential of the area with the tourism staff at Wrexham Council. It was one of these links that gave me the confidence to choose a career within the local hospitality scene and I meet visitors each week who love what we have to offer.”
North East Wales is celebrating the area’s ‘Routes to the Sea’ and have produced the below video aimed at encouraging people to discover ‘new and exciting activities in a stunning part of the world’.