WREXHAM town centre is to be given greater emphasis in plans to develop the area’s tourism offering.

Joe Bickerton, Wrexham Council’s destination manager, told the Leader that plans which will shape much of the work to enhance the council’s tourism-related projects over the next three years are almost complete.

He said: “Our tourism action plan for 2018-20 has been developed by TEAM Tourism who have worked with all of our local hotels, attractions and tourism ambassadors in the last six months. This is due to go to Executive Board in the next few months before being launched early Spring.

“The plan will shape the work of ourselves and the This Is Wrexham Tourism Partnership over the next three years.

“In the last plan, there were three key hubs that were prioritised for tourism support – the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site, Chirk and the Ceiriog Valley and Erddig.

“The Town Centre at the time was classed as an ‘emerging hub’ but given the increasing number of events since (Tour of Britain, FOCUS Wales, Monthly Street Festivals, our drive-in cinema, ComicCon, Stereophonics gigs), coach tours and popularity of places like St Giles Church, Wrexham Museum, our food and retail offer and the new Ty Pawb development – TEAM Tourism have recommended that the town centre should be classed as a tourism hub in the new plan.

“It is too early to say what kind of projects will be happening but the main thing is about the visitor welcome and experience, for example at the bus station and train station.

“It will be making sure there is good visitor information and that they are clean and tidy to create a good first impression.

“Also, since 2010 the tourism sector in Wrexham County has grown by nearly 38 per cent - with the sector bringing in £116 million each year and supporting 1,600 full time jobs. This is one of the fastest growing rates in the UK.

“In the last year our destination management board has gone through a transformation by becoming a Community Interest Company called ‘This Is Wrexham’.

“The group, led by leading hoteliers, attraction providers and event organisers in the county launched the ‘This Is Wrexham’ tourism card in July 2017 and a membership scheme for local tourism businesses.

”This model was followed to raise further finance which can be used to act as match funding for any available grant support in the future – and complement the work of Wrexham Council in achieving the targets in the new plan.”

In November the council also announced plans to seek Heritage Lottery funding to regenerate historical assets in Wrexham town centre.

If successful the heritage lottery project could see works to improve the appearance of town centre properties, as well as bringing vacant and under-used buildings into new use, from autumn 2019.