Wales’ 2017 tourism engagement project known as ‘Year of Legends’ helped increase spending in the in north-west Wales economy by £7 million.
The project which ran from June 2017 to January 2018 was financed by Visit Wales and led by Gwynedd Council on behalf of Anglesey and Conwy Councils.
The year-long event was responsible for a whole host of activity across the region, including a 20-foot statue of a sword that was placed on the banks of Padarn Lake, Llanberis, celebrating the history and heritage of the area with a nod to the legend of King Arthur.
A public competition was carried out to name the sword, which was ultimately won by pupils from Ysgol Dolbadarn who decided on the final name: ‘Llafn y Cewri’.
The statue has already proved to be a popular attraction for visitors from all over the country and has become a popular location for taking photographs.
Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “It is a well-known fact that tourism plays a vital role in the economy of north-west Wales, with approximately 16,000 of Gwynedd residents employed within the sector.
“We also know that cultural tourism is an expanding sector, and we’re keen to support our communities in order to make tourism a viable industry throughout the year.
“With more and more people using digital platforms to plan holidays, the Council’s Tourism Service has invested in marketing strategies, and in particular raising awareness via online campaigns.
“Visit Wales and private businesses have also helped to build and support these efforts, and this investment is definitely bearing fruit, with substantial expenditure in the local economy.”
Another part of the project was to arrange for three actors from soap opera ‘Hollyoaks’ to visit the three counties and take part in various activities in order to encourage people to use the web to see what North Wales has to offer.
The actors, Nadine Mulkerrin, Jessica Ellis, and Luke Jerdy were invited to take part in the events by Meilir Williams – an actor on the popular Welsh soap ‘Rownd a Rownd’.
They had the opportunity to paddleboard in Rhosneigr, eat in the ‘Oyster Catcher’ restaurant, visiting the little dragons in Caernarfon castle, having a go on the Zip wire in Blaenau Ffestiniog, a cookery lesson in Bodnant and visiting the ski centre in Llandudno.
The visit was promoted through social media, with the relevant videos being watched and shared over 120,000 times on the web.
The recent Welsh Government figures show that 22% of domestic visitors and 43% of overseas visitors to Gwynedd enjoy history and heritage, with more than a third of overseas visitors staying locally.