Following an incredible year for Wrexham - the local tourism partnership 'This is Wrexham' have confirmed their relaunch ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer season for the local hospitality trade.
Following their formation in 2017, the This is Wrexham Tourism Partnership was set-up to work alongside Wrexham County Borough Council and Visit Wales to champion the local area and support tourism businesses attract more visitor spend as well as marketing the wider area.
The pandemic in 2020 hit just as Wrexham had recorded a record year of tourism numbers in 2019, with over 1.5m day visitors and £141m spent locally by visitors. Throughout the 2020/21 period, the partnership evolved to become an online-support and signposting service, working alongside the Local Authority to help navigate hospitality businesses through the tricky waters of asking customers to stay away and then cautiously welcoming them back.
2022 saw Wrexham - and the rest of North Wales - get back to a level of normality as both national and international visitors returned to the region and this coincided with the launch of Wrexham Council's new Destination Management Plan (2023-26) which is co-owned with the This is Wrexham Partnership.
Chatting this week, This is Wrexham Partnership Chair Sam Regan (the Lemon Tree) said that a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to relaunch the partnership this year and really help Wrexham's tourism trade gain extra benefit from the new wave of international interest in what Wrexham has to offer.
Sam said; "A lot of work has been going on to get us to this exciting new stage. We're seeing Wrexham in the news each week for all of the positive reasons that it deserves and with that, a new wave of visitors are continually arriving. Of course, the exposure that the football club's success is bringing to the area is a large factor - but I also have guests staying who are doing new business in the area, coming to see why Wrexham was shortlisted for the UK City of Culture last year - or just because it's an area that they've not yet explored and are intrigued to see why we're so special."
He continued; "However, for all of the good that increasing visitor numbers bring - we're still facing huge challenges in the hospitality industry through ever-increasing overheads, staffing shortages and stiff competition for business as we go through a cost of living crisis. Therefore re-engaging local tourism operators via the partnership scheme ahead of the summer season will help us achieve more cross-promotion and strengthen our collective offer as we all shout about why Wrexham is a must visit destination!"
For businesses signing-up during the current Membership window (9th May - 30th May), new grant funding has been secured that will offer a wide range of marketing support via photography, filming, new maps, blogging, masterclass sessions, customer service training plus much more.
Wrexham Council are also supporting the partnership this year by offering a wide range of tourism projects via their new Placemaking scheme. In the coming months, the first tourism brochure for several years is launching - fuelled by visitor demand in wishing to know how to extend the length of their stay in the area. In addition, Wrexham's tourism team are due to launch a new online Ambassador Scheme this summer which aims to help staff within the industry understand more about the local area so that they can give a more informed level of information to visitors. In addition, there will be new promotional films and work with Visit Wales to promote Wrexham to overseas visitors who are planning a future visit.
Tourism Manager at Wrexham Council, Joe Bickerton believes that the continued joint-working with the tourism partnership is key to helping maximise the experience that visitors receive; "We've seen such a positive decade or so for tourism here in Wrexham - probably since 2009 when the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal was designed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However we're entering another exciting new phase of Wrexham's history now and one that has the potential to really boost the area for many years to come. The tourism & hospitality businesses in Wrexham are incredibly passionate about giving a great welcome and working with local producers to support the economy and the projects that we have in place for 2023 should really help shine the spotlight on both Wrexham and these businesses further!"
Membership for the This is Wrexham Tourism Partnership, priced at £50, is open until 30th May to businesses within Wrexham County who are primarily set-up as visitor attractions, accommodation providers, destination eateries or who's primary function is to welcome visitors to the Wrexham area.
For more details, see https://www.thisiswrexham.co.uk/membership