Businesses bid to bring more tourists to north-east Wales

A photo of the summit of Moel Famau in the Clwydian Range Image copyright David Quinn/Geograph
Image caption The project hopes to highlight "hidden gems" like Moel Famau in the Clwydian Range

Tourists are being encouraged to spend longer in north-east Wales, which businesses claim is being "squeezed" by the lure of Snowdonia.

The Stay, Eat, Do project aims to create clusters of businesses offering complete packages to visitors including accommodation, activities and eating.

Its backers said "hidden gems" in the area needed promoting.

But Visit Wales said recent "capital projects" would encourage more visitors.

Chris Frost, chairman of the privately-run North Wales Tourism initiative and co-owner of a restaurant in Ruthin, Denbighshire, said visitors usually tended to stay only for two nights.

"We are in a fantastic area, very close to literally millions of people," he sais, and called for Wales' tourism strategy to "celebrate the whole of the country".

Julie Masters, co-ordinator of the two-year £71,000 Stay, Eat, Do project, said there was also an advantage to north-east Wales' location with it being between Snowdonia and the likes of Manchester and Liverpool.

"The benefit is that you can stay in the middle and visit them all," she said.

"You've got the Clwydian Range and the Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with Offa's Dyke running through them.

"There are lots and lots of producers and the Wrexham and Mold food festivals."

Image copyright Stephen Craven / Geograph
Image caption The project aims to get tourists to visit other attractions as well as "magnets" like the Horseshoe Falls

She added: "We need to be finding our own niches.

"We have got an awful lot to offer but the gems are often hidden, that's why we are bringing the clusters together to highlight those gems and make them more accessible."

A Visit Wales spokesman said visiting new parts of the country was essential to the body's strategy and more had been done to promote tourism since launching themed years in 2016.

He added they were "confident that all this work will encourage more and more people from south Wales to travel to the north, and the rest of Wales, in future".

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