WREXHAM'S worldwide explosion in popularity over recent years is helping to boost the whole of North Wales, a tourism chief has said.

Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, told the Leader he has high hopes for the future of the city and the rest of the region.

He said: "Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have done a lot to raise the profile of Wrexham across the world - especially in the USA.

"I don't think anyone saw it coming when Hollywood actors took an interest in North Wales but the fact they did is fantastic.

"They realised the passion and power of the community in Wrexham and I know they're actors, but there's no acting when they talk about Wrexham with passion.

"They're bigging up North Wales and promoting the language; you can't buy the sort of profile they're bringing to the area.

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"Long may that continue; they're fantastic ambassadors for North Wales."

Speaking of Wrexham's current offering, he continued: "It is now a hub of activity with lots of shops, cafes, tourist attractions and a world heritage site in the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

In the periphery areas, it also has stunning walks - Wrexham has it all and it has probably become the gateway city into North Wales.

"The feel-good factor that is being felt in Wrexham is being felt across the whole of North Wales."

Mr Jones also praised Wrexham Council for its "extremely proactive" approach to tourism.

He said: "I need to highlight that the council is putting its money where its mouth is.

"It's investment in a new tourist information centre which is first class is a statement of intent that they are really trying to attract more visitors to the area and they need to be recognised for that."

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Mr Jones said Wrexham's ongoing development as a city, coupled with the boom in profile Rob and Ryan have brought to Wrexham AFC, could in the coming years be the "catalyst" which helps the rest of North Wales.

Cllr Nigel Williams, lead member for economy and regeneration, said: “There is no doubt that Wrexham is certainly front and centre of all our minds as we see the benefits that city status, being shortlisted for UK City of Culture and the successes of Wrexham AFC have brought to ourselves and the wider North Wales region in recent months.

“Hearing American and Canadian voices in the city centre is becoming very common now and the recent opening of our new and modern Visitor Centre shows just how far we are advancing in terms of tourism.

"After bouncing back strongly from the pandemic, our hospitality sector is gearing-up for what we’re sure will be a successful summer, welcoming new and old visitors to our amazing attractions and stunning landscapes.”