I'm a Celebrity will bring huge tourism boost to Wales, experts say

The decision to film this year’s ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ in North Wales could prove a major boon for the region’s tourism industry at a crucial time, industry experts have said.

Gwrych Castle
Gwrych Castle

Changes which have had to be made to this year’s show due to the coronavirus pandemic – including the relocation to Gwrych Castle in North Wales - mean viewers this year will be seeing a very different show – and one which is filmed in the heart of North Wales.

Dr Marcus Hansen, programme leader in Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management at Wrexham Glyndwr University, believes the hit ITV series’ decision to relocate this year’s celebrity adventures to Wales will help showcase the region to millions.

“There is no doubt that seeing areas in television series such as I’m A Celebrity can have a major impact on tourism – in fact, there is a specific term, ‘film-induced tourism’, which describes the effect that this exposure can have.

“This is one of ITV’s most-watched programmes and the free advertising which it will give to Wales will be invaluable.”

Dr Hansen also believes that the timing of the series means the region’s tourism operators are also poised to gain with Wales fresh in people’s minds in January, a time of year when many begin making their holiday plans for the year ahead

He said: “Reminding people that there’s a really great place here in Britain just as millions of people are set to come out of lockdown is a major boost for tourism.”

Adventure

Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said: “This is an absolutely brilliant boost for North Wales and it could not have come at a better time for our tourism industry in general and Gwrych Castle in particular.

“The issues around coronavirus have already led to an increase in staycations, not least with Ant and Dec and the gang, and the series will help give North Wales the edge and attract more visitors here.

“We can’t guarantee the weather of New South Wales, Australia but North Wales can definitely guarantee the experience of a lifetime thanks to our burgeoning reputation at the European capital of adventure.

Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru chief executive, believes I’m a Celebrity will raise the profile of Wales as whole and is hoping that the show will help to attract more visitors to Mid Wales as a result.

“When viewers watch this popular show, I think they will associate it with Wales rather than just North Wales,” she said. “It’s a great way to promote the country both nationally and internationally.

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