Eisteddfod will not help business says town trader

Reporter:

Rebeca Cole

A LEADING businessman has rubbished claims the town will enjoy a massive cash boost when the National Eisteddfod arrives.

Alex Jones, owner of The Bank wine bar and vice-chair of Wrexham’s Chamber of Trade and Tourism, has disputed the prediction that Wrexham will profit from a “huge” economic boom next month.

He believes the estimate of £6million, quoted by Cllr Bob Dutton, Wrexham Council’s lead member for communities and performance, is way beyond what Wrexham businesses can expect, especially as one of the town’s biggest attractions The Wynnstay Hotel, which closed down recently after going into administration, will be sitting empty.

Mr Jones said: “The eisteddfod’s not going to generate anywhere near this figure.

“It’s no fault of our own or the eisteddfod’s but the biggest hotel in Wrexham is closed so we’ve already lost 100 guests looking for something to do in the
evenings.

“It’s a major blow when it should have been a real draw.”

Mr Jones said he was glad the eisteddfod is coming to the town and claimed he and most of the other town centre independent traders are “welcoming the event with open arms” and have worked hard to capitalise on and market the event. But he doubted how much town centre traders would really benefit. “The Maes is two miles out of town and everything is catered for on site.

“The hotels, bed and breakfasts and supermarkets here will do well but other than that I don’t think the visitors have got any other reason to come here.

“The small, independent businesses, the ones that really need the boost, probably won’t see much benefit.

“Even with Maes B activities going on at Glyndwr University that’s still a fair way from town.”

He also claimed more effort should have been made to market the event in a bid to attract more visitors.

He added: “This is a real opportunity to show off Wrexham and put it on the map.

“But, apart from a few bits of bunting on the A483 and on Lambpit Street, there
doesn’t seem to have been much effort to integrate the event with the town.”

However, Gwenllian Carr, head of communications at the eisteddfod, said the
National Eisteddfod has worked with local businesses in preparation for the event.

She said: “We have held a number of events such as business breakfasts with Wrexham Council and local businesses and all of our merchandise has been made locally.

“The Go Bonkers window display project was designed to get shops and cafes involved and we’ve got an online directory advertising local firms such as taxi companies and a tourist and information pack for all campers.”

She also explained that the £6-8 million figure quoted was based on independent research carried out following the eisteddfod’s visit to Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli and added there would be a shuttle bus between the festival site, Wrexham bus station and Wrexham General train station every 10 minutes from 8am-10.30pm.

She added: “We hope visitors will take a day to explore the other attractions of Wrexham.”

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