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Countryside show will create £12m bonanza for North Wales

A TWO-DAY event celebrating the countryside will create a major boost for the North Wales economy with record-breaking sales of £12 million being forecast.

Organisers of the second ever Welsh Game Fair on the weekend of September 9 and 10 are expecting to double attendance after the inaugural event last year at the Faenol Estate near Bangor attracted 10,000 visitors.

The show, organised in association with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, will cover everything from angling and axemen to conservation, shooting and wildlife, all on Faenol’s magnificent 500 acres overlooking the Menai Straits.

James Gower, chief executive of Stable Events which organises the Welsh Game Fair, alongside The Game Fair and the Scottish Game Fair, said: “We were delighted with last year’s debut event but this September will pack in even more attractions.

“We’re also expecting to attract even more people, double last year’s 10,000, and to have an even more positive economic impact for the area.

“While we do expect many day visitors the Game Fair will also attract people who come for the whole weekend and stay in the area and also plenty of trade customers as well.

“We expect the average spend to be £600 because we are expecting plenty of trade customers and stands and that along with the fantastic attractions we have at this year’s Fair should be a big draw.

“Buyers from the major supermarkets are regular visitors to the event and even small producers can pick up large orders and new connections.

“A more unusual commercial benefit last year was having scouts from Middle Eastern buyers looking to establish relationships with Welsh falconry breeders, with many top birds traded to be sent to the regions of Dubai and Qatar.”

The potential of the event was underlined in a study conducted by Bangor University about economic impact of the first Welsh Game Fair.

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Apart from the business done at the show, visitors spent £300,000 in the local area with more than 55 per cent of them staying overnight in local hotels, campsites or in caravans.

In addition, organisers spent nearly £130,000 with Welsh contractors in staging the event which also provided a showcase for Welsh food and drink producers.

The study was conducted by Dr Linda Osti, a senior lecturer at Bangor University, who said: “Properly involving the host community in the event could …further develop a sense of cohesion, belonging and pride.

“The local culture and the local products can be further promoted in an authentic way for the assertion of local traditions.”

It’s all music to the ears of Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, who believes the Welsh Game Fair is a welcome addition to the region’s attractions.

He said: “I was on television recently talking about how we can attract international visitors to North Wales and one of the biggest draws is to have large-scale events like the Welsh Game Fair that focus on specific areas.

“The Welsh Game Fair is all about rural pursuits and the rural economy here in North Wales is so important to us that bit will pull people in from all over the UK and internationally as well.

“We have just seen the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod which has a huge input into the economy of North Wales.

“Events like these attract people who want to come and stay for a few nights and spend some money while they’re here.

“We’re 100 per cent behind the Welsh Game Fair which will attract the local farming community and which is being run by a well-established company with a track record of producing similar high quality events across the UK.

“It will attract the kind of people we want to bring in to North Wales. They do spend money and they may well spend two or three days here in local accommodation while they enjoy this rural showcase event.

“We now have a number of events like this and they bring in people we desperately need because this not only showcases the best of rural North Wales and its traditions and way of life but they also spend money here.

“It also gives North Wales plenty of profile and that is so important in bringing people back and encouraging others to visit as well.”

It was a view echoed by Jonathan Williams-Ellis, the chair of Attractions Snowdonia and Snowdonia 360.

He said: “There is definitely the case to be made for the Game Fair as an event for the whole of North Wales as it is happening outside the school holidays and in the term time.

“The North Wales tourism season can be extended and strengthen through this event and the benefits that it brings is the extra bednights whether in serviced or self-catering accommodation.

“The knock on effect of spend is substantial. There will be an increase in spend to the area too.

“North Wales very much needs an event of this magnitude and I believe that it sits perfectly into the calendar after the Royal Welsh, Anglesey and Flint and Denbigh agricultural shows.”

Captions

Craftsman Huw Jones who makes bespoke pieces in leather, wood and metal at last year’s Welsh Game Fair

John Islwyn Jones from Pen y Bryn Falconry at last year’s Welsh Game Fair

Two year old Charlie with his Spaniel, Bruno

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