Eisteddfod has not boosted business, say traders

Reporter:

Jim Green

TRADERS say Wrexham town centre has been almost deserted despite almost 100,000 visitors flocking to the Eisteddfod.

It was claimed more than £6 million would be brought into the economy, but traders say the windfall has failed to materialise.

The week-long spectacular was forecast to provide a “huge” boost to the town’s economy.

Cllr Bob Dutton, Wrexham Council’s lead member for communities and performance, estimated it would bring more than £6 million to the area.

But pubs, shops and restaurants who braced themselves for an influx of trade said the windfall had failed to materialise.

Alex Jones, vice-chair of Wrexham’s Chamber of Trade and Tourism, said the town was no busier than normal.

“Nobody has benefited as yet apart from hotels and bed and breakfasts,” he said.

“Some traders have even told me customers are staying away from the town centre because of concerns over congestion after all the hype over visitor numbers.

“I’ve noticed a few tourists during the day but certainly nowhere near the level we were promised.”

Mr Jones, who owns The Bank wine bar, said the town was just as quiet at night.

“We haven’t had much of an increase in evening trade at all,” he said.

“The bars and food outlets at the Eisteddfod have been packed out.

“People are very well catered for at the Maes. They have no reason to leave and come into Wrexham.”

The Leader spoke to a number of shops, bars and cafes with many saying they were disappointed at the lack of town centre visitors.

One member of staff at Perelli’s restaurant in High Street said: “We were expecting a rise in customers and have had some tourists but not many at all.

“It’s actually been quieter than a normal week.”

Eisteddfod organiser Hywel Wyn Edwards said he was delighted with attendances at the event, which ends on Saturday.

More than 90,000 people have passed through the gates so far with 20,000 visitors on Wednesday.

“The eisteddfod does bring upwards of £6 million into the economy but much of that is in accommodation,” he said.

“Many hotels in the area are fully booked and we have 750 caravans on site who are spending money in shops and supermarkets.”

Mr Edwards said a shuttle bus between the festival site and the town centre had proven popular.

“Of course there is a huge choice of bars and restaurants for visitors in Wrexham,” he said.

“When one particular pub proves popular people tend to hear about it and go there.

“Many of the younger visitors don’t normally arrive until Wednesday and Thursday so they may well spend more time in the town.”
 

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