I’m a Celeb return to Wales will give an economic boost, says tourism chief
A tourism chief says the decision of TV bosses to return to the north of Wales for the next series of I’m a Celebrity will give the area a massive economic boost.
Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said the hit show that attracts millions of viewers would once again raise the area’s profile and help attract visitors.
The announcement came hot on the heels of the awarding of UNESCO World Heritage Status to the slate landscape of Gwynedd.
Last year’s series – won by Giovanna Fletcher – was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic.
It was the second most popular series since I’m a Celebrity started, with the launch episode attracting 14.3 million viewers.
Mr Jones said: “In 2020 we all witnessed what a fantastic spectacle it was for Gwrych Castle and North Wales.
“The producers delivered a great programme in 2020 with huge viewing figures .
“Hopefully, with restrictions lifted the celebrities might now get a chance to venture out of the castle grounds to see other awe inspiring places in North Wales.
“I am more than delighted for Dr Mark Baker which will continue to help with the renovation works at the castle and of course, it will once again put the community of Abergele back in the spotlight. “They did so much to showcase a warm and welcoming Welsh feeling to the cast and crew.
He added: “The fact that the news has been announced just after the slate landscape of North West Wales was granted by UNESCO makes it doubly sweet.
“The last 18 months have been horrible for everybody and tourism and hospitality has been among the worst affected sectors of the economy.
“The industry is an important part of the region’s economic lifeblood, employing 40,000 people and generating more than £3.2 billion a year in normal times.
“Tourism and hospitality can play a big part in helping North Wales get back on its feet, economically speaking.
“Before this happened you wouldn’t have expected to refer to UNESCO and I’m a Celebrity in the same sentence but they have combined beautifully to give North Wales a massive economic boost just when it was needed most.”
Last year the popular presenters, Ant and Dec , made an effort to use the Welsh language in the show.
They greeted the prime time audience by saying “Noswaith Dda”, Welsh for “Good Evening.”.
It is all with the help of a former BBC Wales journalist and TV executive Garffild Lloyd Lewis.
He was asked to lend a hand to the show, when it was first revealed it would be heading to the castle site in Abergele, in Conwy.
It followed calls from the chairman of the Gwrych Castle Trust for the programme to give the Welsh language “sensible attention”, said Mr Lewis.
“We’ve been working closely with the production team planning ahead, for example putting Welsh names up around the castle,” explained Mr Lewis, of Llangernyw, last year.