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Competing bids for UK City of Culture could backfire, tourism boss warns

22 Aug 2021 3 minute read
Jim Jones, MD of North Wales Tourism Ltd in Llanduddno.

A tourism leader has warned that having three competing bids from the north of Wales to become the UK City of Culture 2025 could backfire.

Jim Jones, the Chief Executive of North Wales Tourism, fears that by vying against each other Bangor, Conwy and Wrexham could weaken the chances of all three.

The trio are among a record number of 20 places to put their names forward for the prestigious competition. Powys and Newport have also thrown their hats into the ring.

This time the criteria were changed so that, in addition to cities, regions and groups of towns from across the UK were encouraged to apply.

There is early speculation that Wrexham’s Hollywood connections in the shape of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney could give them the edge.

Their takeover of Wrexham AFC has attracted worldwide attention and the area was in the spotlight once again this week after a Hollywood-style sign spelling out town’s name in large white letters appeared on a slag heap on the outskirts of the town.

But Jim Jones voiced his concerns on Twitter that having three separate submissions from the north of Wales could be counterproductive.

He said: “3 places from across North Wales have submitted an expression of interest to become the UK City of Culture 2025. The City of Bangor. Conwy County. Wrexham County Borough. What happened to the working together as a region? By competing against each other, dilutes all.

“I’ve seen Conwy’s bid very strong and compelling Cultural bid. Can’t comment on Bangor’s or Wrexham’s as not seen theirs.”


Wrexham Council leader Mark Pritchard believes that a sprinkling of Hollywood stardust could be key to success, as well as the town’s industrial heritage.

He told the Local Democracy Service: “Wrexham has a bounty of mineral wealth and proud industrial past but is best known for its coal mining, with Bersham, Hafod and Gresford being our most well-known collieries.

“The Welsh language and culture is embedded in the fabric of Wrexham from our manufacturing and mining heritage to our modern and thriving business park that includes a manufacturer of the Covid vaccine.

“Future projects for Wrexham include the Wrexham Gateway Project that will transform the gateway into Wrexham as well as plans developing for Football Museum Wales due to open in 2023.

“Speaking about football it’s not hard to get excited about the stratospheric developments at the Racecourse ground and Wrexham AFC.

“The Racecourse is the world’s oldest international stadium that still continues to host international games and Wrexham AFC is the third oldest football club in the world.

“The club, the fans and the new owners are spreading the Wrexham name worldwide, engaging with a new international audience for the club and town.”

The  bidders vying to take on the baton from Coventry as the next UK City of Culture will be reduced to an initial long list in the next few weeks.

They will then be cut down further to a final short list early next year, with the winner announced in May, 2022.

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2 years ago

We are North wales, not the North of Wales. When describing Cardiff do you describe it as being in the South of Wales? No.

Nation cymru should respect our individual identity of Being North Wales. Enough of this North of Wales patronising.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 years ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

Should we accept that North Wales, as defined by the Fire and Rescue Service, consists of Gwynedd & Mon, Conwy & Denbighshire, Wrexham & Flintshire. Does this help anyone from England, say, identify North Wales? I doubt it. Aberdyfi, Tywyn, Corris and Dinas Mawddwy, all in North Wales. Pistyll Rhaeadr, higher than Niagara Falls, geographically way north of all these places but is in Mid Wales. Glyndwr’s parliament house in Machynlleth,is not in North Wales. It’ Mid Wales, just like Ystradgynlais Rugby Club..However, Machynlleth still feels like it is in North Wales even though it isn’t. It is, to me,… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Yes, the problem is “the North of wales” phrases makes us sound like an extention or territory and not part of Wales.

If it is pointless, how come we don’t hear this publication say the “South of wales”.

What’s good for the goose. If we are not careful North Wales will loose its unique identity and just be thrown in with valley politics and culture. Theres nothing wrong with either, just we shouldn’t loose our identity to strengthen theirs.

Ann Corkett
Ann Corkett
2 years ago

Gyda phob parch i’r tair dref, ni allaf weld bod yr un ohonynt yn sefyll allan fel dinas diwylliant.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
2 years ago

This guy is an A*hole……do you thing that Bangor care if Wrexham win or not? And vice versa! Get a grip man!!

2 years ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Actually they probably don’t but there has in the past been a bit of beef between Wrexham and Bangor.

Wrexham tried to get city status once by claiming they would be the first city in North Wales. Bangor has been a city since 7ad. It didn’t go down to well in Bangor.

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