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Wrexham Tourism Businesses Gather Ahead of 2024 Spring Season

Updated: Mar 14

Over 80 Wrexham-based tourism & hospitality staff took the opportunity to look ahead to the new 2024 visitor season last week as part of the This is Wrexham Tourism Forum at Xplore! Science Discovery Centre.

This is Wrexham Tourism Forum - Image courtesy of Xplore!

The twice-yearly forum was an opportunity for local businesses to learn more about the support available, opportunities for development and growth in 2024 and also the potential that the current high levels of inbound international tourism are presenting Wrexham with.

As part of the morning, delegates had an exclusive insight and Q&A session via Zoom from Bryan Swarberg, from the US-based team behind the new Parks & Wrex project, which aims to transform the former Hippodrome site on Henblas Street into what is initially termed as the "Ryan Rodney Reynolds Memorial Park".

Readers may recall that back in October 2023, Wrexham AFC co-owner Rob McElhenney 'gifted' his fellow co-owner Ryan Reynolds with 'the park' in the heart of Wrexham City Centre - with the aim of Rob's team working closely with Wrexham County Borough Council to regenerate the former Hippodrome site over the next year to form a brand new community focussed park, with proposed pop-up performance space, seating, market opportunities and a very fetching bronze statue of Mr Reynolds himself!

The presentation, filmed by the Disney+ documentary crew, was well received and formed part of the teams wider consultation programme this March ahead of a formal planning application being submitted later in the year. Neighbours, educational charity Xplore! Science Centre are excited by the plans for Henblas Street and Katie Williams from Xplore! said; "This opportunity which these initial proposals present are really exciting - not just for ourselves here at Xplore!, but also for the wider City Centre businesses and visitors. We're looking forward to working closely with the team as neighbours to shape how the park may function and the opportunities that Parks & Wrex can support Xplore! with too."

An artist illustration showing the proposed 'Ryan Rodney Reynolds' memorial park - courtesy of Parks & Wrex

Alongside the Parks & Wrex presentation, Tourism Manager at Wrexham Council Joe Bickerton and Visit Wales Marketing officers updated the group with insights and opportunities from recent travel agency familiarisation visits to Wrexham, including visits from UNITED airlines, Visit Britain, Berg-Hansen in Norway and a day visit of US and Canadian travel agency delegates attending the International Travel Market in London at the end of February.

Joe added; "The level of interest from international travel agencies - based on demand in large due to the awareness of Wrexham thanks to the 'Welcome to Wrexham' Disney+ documentary - is incredible and should really help support our local hospitality businesses over the coming months. Pre-pandemic, it could be said that we often lived in the shadow of many other more established tourism destinations, but the platform that we have now to build on this attention has so much potential to sustain and create new jobs in hospitality, attract new private sector investment and showcase what an incredible place our whole County area is."

US-based travel agents take in St Giles Parish Church in Wrexham (Feb 2024) with local tourism representatives from the Ramada Hotel, Chirk Castle and the Welsh Tourist Guide Association.

Other presentations at the forum included a talk by Alan Lewis, the race organiser of the new Wrexham 10k which takes place on 21st April, Natalie Cliffe from Coleg Cambria talked about how the college is working to ensure that their tourism & hospitality courses support the local sector via student skills training and work placements and Xplore! themselves offered an update based on their expansion plans afforded by a recent SPF grant award.

The This is Wrexham Tourism Partnership is Chaired by Sam Regan (Lemon Tree) with the close support of Wrexham County Borough Council's Tourism Team and represents Wrexham's Tourism & Hospitality sector with a place on the regional Visit Wales Tourism Board and as a key consultee on most local regeneration initiatives as part of the delivery of Wrexham's Destination Management Plan.

Membership for the This is Wrexham Tourism Partnership re-opens on 1st April at a cost of £50-200 per year depending on business size - however to be part of the scheme, operators must be primarily hospitality based, open at least 5-days per week with a 4*+ hygiene rating, complete the Wrexham Tourism Ambassador Online Scheme to bronze level within 3-months of joining and if accommodation based - have a quality star rating. For more details see;

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