A tourism boss says Hollywood A-listers Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynold have given North Wales a £1 billion boost.
According to Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, the global publicity generated by the Wrexham AFC co-owners has put the whole region on the map like never before.
He said: “It’s impossible to accurately calculate the precise value of the profile created by their special brand of magic, but the Rob and Ryan factor would undoubtedly be worth more than £1 billion if you had to pay for the equivalent coverage in advertising.”
Mr Jones was speaking ahead of the annual Go North Wales Tourism Awards at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Thursday, November 23.
The Oscars-style ceremony to celebrate the heroes of the tourism and hospitality industry, supported by headline sponsor Harlech Foodservice, will be hosted by respected ITV Wales journalist Carole Green.
The window for submissions in 19 categories is open until Monday, October 9, and more details can be found at www.gonorthwalestourismawards.website
Mr Jones said: “The Go North Wales Awards is one of the highlights of the year and it gives us a really good opportunity to recognise what a great tourism and hospitality industry we have in North Wales.
“It a chance to celebrate and raise the profile of all the good work that is happening in North Wales and the new products that are being developed in extremely challenging times.
“I have been involved in the industry for quite some time and I have never known a period as tough as it has been.
“The remarkable resilience shown by the people working in the sector over the past four years has been nothing short of heroic
“Businesses are working extremely hard to try to get back to where we were in 2019 when we were on a high, with an all-time high number of visitors generating a record number of jobs and an annual boost of £3.6 billion for the regional economy in North Wales.
“We are determined to get back to where we were before Covid struck and the tourism and hospitality industry can play a key role in leading North Wales on the road to economic recovery.
“The domestic market will always be our most important one but our focus at the moment is to look further afield to try and attract more international visitors, especially Japan and America.
“We’re also a great destination for Europeans, especially with the close proximity to the airports, Liverpool and Manchester. They’re easy connections into Europe.
“We’ve got everything that the Europeans like, walking, hiking in the countryside. It doesn’t matter really what the weather is like, they’re willing to come out and all we’ve got to do is promote our hiking routes and our walking routes and everything else that we have to offer.
“It is the international market that will bring in the big spenders and they’re the ones you need to stay and our businesses need to work hard to fulfil their expectations.
“We need to capitalise on the fairytale success of Wrexham football club and the fantastic job Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are doing, not only in reviving the club and taking it back to the promised land but the global headlines they are getting in the process.
“When it comes to marketing, Rob and Ryan are absolute geniuses. It’s brilliant for the city of Wrexham but the whole of North Wales is benefiting from the golden glow of the priceless publicity generated by their brilliant documentary series, Welcome to Wrexham.
“They’ve raised our profile, especially in north America and we’re already seeing an influx of tourists as a result and they’re not just going to Wrexham, they’re also exploring the rest of North Wales.
“People used to say that Chester was the gateway to North Wales but Wrexham is the new gateway to North Wales now.
“We’ve got people ringing us up to book tours and they want executive tickets to watch Wrexham and while they’re here they also want to do other things to make the most of their visit.
“Once people come here they are enchanted because we have so much to offer.
“We have spectacular scenery, fantastic hospitality and amazing attractions in abundance.
“After a particularly tough time in tourism and hospitality, Rob and Ryan are providing a ray of sunshine.”
For more information about the Go North Wales Tourism Awards and how to enter go to www.gonorthwalestourismawards.website