A SENIOR councillor spoke of his hopes for Wrexham as a tourism hotspot into 2024 and beyond.

The city centre and wider county borough looks set to embrace its growing national and international popularity off the back of what has been described as "the Rob and Ryan effect" - following the Hollywood duo's takeover of Wrexham AFC.

Nigel Williams, Wrexham Council's lead member for economy and regeneration, spoke of the county's tourism and developmental highlights over the last year and shared his hopes for the near future.

He said: "This year we've had large events in the city centre such as the Tour of Britain, and we entered into Wales in Bloom which have given us national exposure.

"That's been very well received by local people because the more people we can bring into the city centre, the more people will look to invest.

"It's more important than ever that people support the high streets.

"We've seen more small independent traders opening in the city and I take my hat off to them.

"I think you need unique shops to being people in and we've seen quite a few opening up.

"We've also had some nice new hospitality sites, pubs and restaurants opening up this year."

Cllr Williams also shared some of his thoughts on the forthcoming redevelopment at key spots in the city centre, as well as the rationale behind some of the schemes.

"It's about making the city centre a more welcoming environment as it's becoming more of a tourist hotspot," he said.

"We have a placemaking plan for Wrexham over the next few years - and our vision for the city centre.

"The first area we're concentrating on is the High Street.

"We're hoping that in late Spring/Easter time, there will be spades going in the ground to start that - with new paving, trees and more green infrastructure.

"The plan is for more of a cafe culture - each cafe and bar will have a dedicated outdoor seating area to bring more vibrancy to that area.

"There are also plans for infrastructure to let events happen in High Street, as well as markets.

"And the two Victorian markets are re-opening in the summer after a multi-million pound refurbishment.

"It's the vision of making the city look brighter and more vibrant."

And Cllr Williams said while one aim is to develop the city centre itself, he hopes to see more visitors spending time enjoying attractions across the county as a whole.

"We don't want people to come here and just spend a few hours," he explained.

"We want people to spend a few days or even a week here - there's so much more to Wrexham with Erddig, Chirk Castle, the World Heritage Site and more.

"[Following the release of the Welcome to Wrexham TV series], I've spent time with our tourism team meeting international journalists who come here.

"When they come, it's all about the impact of the football club on Wrexham - but they spend a few nights here and they can't believe what a beautiful place it is.

"They see the Aqueduct, they go to Chirk and they want to stay longer."