Tourism expert predicts boost for North Wales from new series of ‘I’m a Celebrity…’
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, an industry expert has said.
Dr Marcus Hansen believes the hit ITV series’ decision to relocate this year’s celebrity adventures to Gwyrch Castle in Abergele could help showcase the region to millions – with tourism operators set to reap the benefits.
The Programme Leader in Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management at Wrexham’s Glyndwr University said: “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.
“We have seen some areas rebuild their entire tourism industry as a result of being featured on television or in film – New Zealand has a multi-billion dollar tourism industry as a result of Lord of the Rings, Dubrovnik sees thousands of tourists as a result of Game of Thrones – and The Walking Dead actually thanks Visit Georgia in its credits for the help the tourism authorities give the series.
“’I’m A Celebrity…’ may only go to a British audience – but it is consistently one of ITV’s most-watched programmes and the free advertising which it will give to North Wales will be invaluable.”
Dr Hansen – like millions across the country – will be tuning in to watch this year’s launch programme on Sunday night.
The changes which have had to be made to this year’s show due to the coronavirus pandemic – including the relocation to Gwrych Castle mean viewers this year will be seeing a very different show – and one which is filmed in the heart of North Wales.
He added: “I will definitely be watching the series this year. When the plans were announced there was a buzz not just across North Wales, but across the border in North West England too as people realised that it would be filmed on their doorstep.
“And as viewers across the UK tune in, many will want to visit North Wales to re-create the emotions and experiences they have had watching the series.
“That’s huge for the region – if you are a visitor attraction in Wales and a series like ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ asks if they can use your location to film, you’d be crazy to say no.
“North Wales already had a great tourism offer – from food experiences to adventure tourism – and has really invested in developing the kind of top-range infrastructure that a modern visitor expects.
“So if you add to that the kind of impact that a television series like ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ – with a lot of passionate followers – can have, it’s a great combination.”
Dr Hansen also believes that the timing of the series – which screens in the run-up to the festive season – 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 called North Wales just as millions of people are set to come out of lockdown is a major boost for tourism.
“’I’m a Celebrity…’ is traditionally filmed in Australia, and while many UK viewers will want to visit as a result, it will definitely be easier for them to visit Snowdonia.
“People traditionally make holiday decisions in January, and this year everything that they have seen during ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ will still be fresh in their mind.
“From the point of view of a tourism operator in North Wales, that’s a real positive – and there are some great plans for tourism in North Wales in 2021, such as the new investments at Adventure Park Snowdonia, which can really add to our region’s offer.
“A programme like this gives tourism operators across North Wales real hope – and that is very important in what has been a difficult year for the industry.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com