ONE OF the candidates looking to become the next First Minister of Wales has paid a visit to north east Wales (December 21).

Mark Drakeford will no longer be Wales' First Minister from March 16, 2024 it has been confirmed. There are only two contenders in the running to replace him as it stands, Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles.

Economy Minister Gething and Education Minister Jeremy Miles will go head-to-head for the position of Welsh Labour Leader.

Mr Gething was in Flintshire and Wrexham today to visit Deeside College, Theatr Clwyd (Mold), Moneypenny (Wrexham) and Ruabon.

The Leader caught up with the candidate in Wrexham to discuss tourism, jobs and even Welcome to Wrexham.

Mr Gething joined Clwyd South MS Ken Skates at a very busy Moneypenny after visiting Deeside college.

He said: "I'm visiting a number of, not only supporters, but looking to have a greater understanding than I even do now about some of the challenges and opportunities in north Wales.

"And I've had a really great start today at Deeside college with both Becky Gittins and Jack Sargeant meeting politics students. I was really impressed with how well-informed those young people are about the challenges of the world around them.

"And now we're at Moneypenny - a real international success story. The first Moneypenny office I visited was their office in Georgia and they're taking on board the Wrexham model to help them expand and grow. 

"I'm really looking forward to seeing more about the success north Wales already has, as well as opportunities for the future."


A visitor levy legislation is due to be introduced in the Senedd by the end of next year and, with support from both Labour and Plaid Cymru, the policy looks set to pass.

Questioned about a potential Tourism Tax for Wales, he said: "I think there's a danger that we talk ourselves into a problem that doesn't exist. There are tourism levies in virtually every part of the developed world.

"If you go to north America, you'll probably pay a tourism levy, you might even pay more than one. I've been on holiday with family when we've paid a city levy and a state-wide one.

"It didn't put us off or wanting to see what they had on offer. The same if you go to Europe, if you got Spain or to to France, you're very likely to be paying a tourism levy already.

"It's about how we balance the needs of both investing in communities and it can help us to improve tourism infrastructure and infrastructure for the communities that are there.

"It's a really important balance, you want a tourism sector that, I think is successful and provides good work for people, local people, and you want a great experience for visitors as well.

"Visitors want to visit somewhere where there is a thriving community to be part of for their stay. 

"You need a successful community and a successful visitor economy alongside it and I think a levy is part of what will help us to do that."

The Leader: PIC: The Leader met Vaughan Gething at Moneypenny in Wrexham.

Mr Gething added: "People come to Wales and they love it. That's one of the big things about Welcome to Wrexham - lots of people in north America didn't know where Wales was.

"Welcome to Wrexham, together with the success of the men's football team (Wales) in qualifying for the World Cup finals, has really elevated our profile.

"People are coming to Wales and they're coming to Wrexham as a gateway to the whole of Wales, not just north Wales, and they really like what they see."

Discussing his priorities for north east Wales should he become First Minister, Mr Gething added: "For north east Wales, I've already made some choices around wanting to have an investment zone here. I think I can help us to grow the high value manufacturing sector here as well.

"We do need to see a real improvement in the economy and north east Wales is part of that with a sector that's already thriving and I believe can grow even more.

"I think we have real assets in the economy of today and the future. A continuing need to value our high quality food and drink produce that north Wales has a great stake in too.

"We have a healthy visitor economy which I think can grow further as well and to still make sure that people have good jobs that you can get on, still stay here in Wales and be successful.

"Moneypenny today is a great example of that. So, I have real optimism for the future of north Wales and, indeed, the whole country."