Wales politics

Wales 'could never have bought' Euro 2016 publicity

Wales players sing the anthem

The publicity Wales gained from the national team's performance at Euro 2016 could never have been bought, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has said.

Mr Cairns said the tournament has "put Wales on the map".

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said there had already been an increase in visitors to the Visit Wales website.

"What we need to do is make sure we convert that interest into actual visits," he added.

Mr Cairns told BBC One Wales' Sunday Politics programme: "Even if I went to the chancellor to ask him for a huge sum of money in terms of millions or billions, we never could have bought this sort of publicity.

"The international currency of football should never be understated and we now need to position ourselves to exploit that positively."

Tens of thousands of fans lined the streets of Cardiff for the team's homecoming parade on Friday.

The Welsh Government's tourism team is looking to build on the team's heroics and this week a promotional video showing off Wales was broadcast in Germany.

Mr Skates said: "The profile of Wales globally has never been higher.

"We're upping our game in many respects and we're engaging with a plethora of travel writers and broadcast media right across the world.

"What we need to do is make sure we convert that interest into actual visits and that's why I'm keen to make sure that we've got the proper resources targeted at enticing as many people as possible."

Prof Max Munday of Cardiff Business School, who previously assessed the economic impact of Swansea's promotion to the Premier League on the city, said it was more difficult to quantify the economic effects of the national team's performance.

With so many thousands of fans following the team in France, Prof Munday believed there was an argument Wales has missed out on money that would otherwise have been spent here.

Nevertheless, he said there could still be a post-tournament dividend.

"It increases that feel-good factor and we have to admit at the moment things are very very uncertain in the Welsh and UK economy as a result of leadership elections and as a result of the Brexit vote," he said.

"There is a great deal of uncertainty. Anything that can give a little fillip to confidence can be very important at these times."

  • Sunday Politics, BBC One Wales, 11:30 BST, 10 July

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