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Tourism Project Gives £7M Boost to North Wales Economy


The Regional Tourism Engagement project ‘Year of Legends’ has helped to increase expenditure in the local economy in north west Wales to £7 million. The project which ran from June 2017 to January 2018 was financed by Visit Wales, and led by Gwynedd Council on behalf of Anglesey and Conwy Councils.

As part of the project, a 20 foot statue of a sword was placed on the banks of Padarn Lake, Llanberis to celebrate the history and heritage of the area. A public competition was held in order to name the sword, with pupils from Ysgol Dolbadarn deciding on the final name, ‘Llafn y Cewri’. The statue has already proved to be a popular attraction for visitors from all over the country and beyond, and is a popular location for taking photographs.

Another part of the project was to arrange for three actors from the popular soap opera ‘Hollyoaks’ to visit the three counties and to take part in various activities in order to encourage people to use the web to see what north Wales has to offer.

The well-known actors, Nadine Mulkerrin, Jessica Ellis and Luke Jerdy were invited to take part in the events by Meilir Williams – an actor on the popular Welsh soap ‘Rownd a Rownd’. They had the opportunity to paddleboard in Rhosneigr, eat in the ‘Oyster Catcher’ restaurant, visiting the little dragons in Caernarfon castle, having a go on the Zip wire in Blaenau Ffestiniog, a cookery lesson in Bodnant and visiting the ski centre in Llandudno. The visit was promoted through social media, with the relevant videos being watched and shared over 120,000 times on the web.

Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development stated:

“It is a well-known fact that tourism plays a vital role in the economy of north west Wales, with approximately 16,000 of Gwynedd residents employed within the sector.

“We also know that cultural tourism is an expanding sector, and we’re keen to support our communities in order to make tourism a viable industry throughout the year.

“With more and more people using digital platforms to plan holidays, the Council’s Tourism Service has invested in marketing strategies, and in particular raising awareness via online campaigns. Visit Wales and private businesses have also helped to build and support these efforts, and this investment is definitely bearing fruit, with substantial expenditure in the local economy.”

The recent Welsh Government figures show that 22% of domestic visitors and 43% of overseas visitors to Gwynedd enjoy history and heritage, with more than a third of overseas visitors staying locally.

The project was partly funded by the Welsh Government’s regional tourism fund.

For more information about tourism in north west Wales, visit: