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Industry Insiders Predict Boost to Welsh Economy During 6 Nations Tournament

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With the 6 Nations in full swing, people will inevitably be flocking to Cardiff for games hosted by Wales and will be gathering in bars and pubs around the city.

People flocking to the Principality Stadium and to bars and pubs all over Wales will, according to industry experts, have a positive effective on the economy and boost hospitality and tourism.

PENTAX Image

PENTAX Image

According to the Welsh Rugby Union, between 2006 and 2016 the total spend between Welsh residents, UK and overseas visitors was £848 million. The Rugby World Cup in 2015 brought in £316 million to the Welsh economy.

Business News Wales has been talking to industry professionals in Sport and Hospitality to give our readers an insight of what the 6 Nations can mean for Wales from a business perspective.

Principality Stadium Manager Mark Williams said:

Principality Stadium occupies a unique position right in the heart of the Cardiff’s city centre, which makes for a fantastic atmosphere for rugby supporters on match day, provides a significant financial boost to the region and sustains more than 2,500 jobs.

“This year’s RBS 6 Nations guarantees Cardiff will play host to some of the biggest matches of the tournament with Wales playing England and Ireland in two sell-out matches at Principality Stadium and Wales’ women taking on respective Women’s opposition, with tickets still available, next door at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

“Preparations for these matches are well underway at the venues and likewise Welsh rugby supporters will be planning for their own great day out in the city centre. With capacity crowds expected, our message to the fans is to plan travel arrangements as early as possible to ensure you get to and from the venue safely and in good time to ensure game day is an unforgettable occasion for all, for all the right reasons!”

Business in Wales spoke to Tim Lewis, PR and Communications Manager for SA Brains. The family-run Welsh brewery started in St Mary street, Cardiff, in a small stone brewery in 1882.  It now has over 200 pubs across Wales and the South west which are popular venues to watch sport, especially rugby.

Rugby events, particularly the Six Nations, bring a significant increase in footfall and revenue across the Brains estate. Interest in this year’s tournament is as strong as ever and it is expected that there will be another significant uplift in sales.

Last year’s 6 Nations began with Wales playing away in Ireland and brought a sales uplift in Cardiff city centre in excess of 200% compared to the week prior to the tournament starting. The first home game, against Scotland, brought an even greater uplift in sales in the city centre. Wales played France on a Friday night last year, meaning the reduced dwell time saw sales up around 150% on match day but there was also sales boost of more than 40% in Cardiff city centre the following day, as French tourists stayed in the city to watch the other matches.

Sales increased by more than 100% in Cardiff (compared to the week before the tournament) when Wales playing England away at Twickenham for the fourth game of the 6 Nations and the final game of the tournament, against Italy, there was a sales uplift in the city centre of more than 150%.

Tim said:

“With only two home games in this year’s tournament, compared to three in 2016, there will be a reduction in revenue from tourism but the two home games, England and Ireland, are arguably Wales’ most popular fixtures in the tournament.

Demand for tickets, hotel bookings and hospitality have been very high and this has been boosted by England and Ireland’s recent form on the pitch. The increased interest in the England and Ireland teams following their success on the pitch should bring a significant boost to tourism in Wales this year”.

He concludes:

“All pubs across the Brains estate will see a significant sales uplift during the 6 Nations. However, it is the venues in Cardiff city centre that see the biggest variation between home and away games.

Pubs outside Cardiff city centre and the immediate surrounding area will attract a similar volume of customers whether Wales are home or away, but Cardiff city centre pubs receive a huge spike in customers when Wales play at the Principality Stadium as 100,000 people or more visit the city”.

Mike Pearce is a freelance rugby journalist and television broadcaster and previews and analyses games on the Sports Talk programme for BMTV. He has a long a successful career in Ruby reporting.

He said:

“With a sell-out game at the Millennium Stadium, there are around 70,000 attending, each spending an average of £300 each on food, transport, accommodation and tickets. This is coupled with the 40,000 or so people who travel to Cardiff to watch the game in the city’s pubs on a Saturday afternoon who spend, on average, between £50 and £75. There is the tourism factor which is difficult to quantify, but the unique Welsh feel to the occasion no doubt encourages some to explore the country a little more”.