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Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Strong arm tactics to draw events
Bryn Terfel, opera singer
Bryn Terfel is one of the big names to come to Gwynedd
The IronMan competition - held in Llanberis this weekend - is the third prestigious event to flex its muscles in Gwynedd this summer.

In August, more than 20,000 came to the shores of the Menai Strait to the Bryn Terfel Festival - three nights of open-air concerts on the Faenol estate between Caernarfon and Bangor.

Local people
Local people have been employed to help with the IronMan competitions
And this week, world-class sailors came to Pwllheli to compete for the One Ton Cup, bringing an expected 70,000 visitors to the area.

Not only have these events been publicising the area - they also contribute directly to the economy.

It is estimated that the three events will bring about 2m to the area, as well as publicity worth thousands of pounds that will be a boost to the tourist industry. More businesses could now be attracted to the area.

Naturally, Gwynedd's councillors see these events as useful in stimulating the economy.

They have been successful in attracting 960,000 of Objective One money toward a 4.1m project called the Gwynedd Events Commission, which aims to attract other events of international standard to the area.

Team talk

Iwan Trefor Jones, the county's assistant director of economic development, is responsible for the project.

"We will be employing three people to form a team to administer the commission," he says.

"One will be responsible for promoting and marketing the project and targeting relevant companies to persuade them to hold their events in the area.

Closing the roads
Closing the roads temporarily will be inconvenient for the locals
"Another will be helping companies who decide to come here to hold their events with various arrangements such as traffic and health and safety regulations.

"And the third will help the private sector to take advantage of any events that are held in Gwynedd."

In certain circumstances, some money will be available as part of a package to persuade companies to come to the area.

If the commission is successful, these events will provide attractions - and possibly jobs -throughout the year; not just during the summer season.

Tooling up

But are the necessary resources available in Gwynedd? Won't some services have to be provided by companies from outside the area?

"We will be setting up suppliers's chains by bringing local companies together to provide various services and products for these events," says Mr Jones.

"If the necessary skills are not available, then we will help with training local people.

Dolbadarn Hotel, Llanberis
The area's hotels are full for the IronMan competitions
"The aim is to have the events to spend as much as possible within Gwynedd."

These events would be a shop window for local products and a boost to the local tourist industry that will be of long-term benefit to the local economy, says Mr Jones.

But some believe more events will create a nuisance for local people. Already, there have been complaints roads will be closed for hours in the Arfon area for one of the IronMan competitions.

Mr Jones says: "With every project, the first thing we assess is, whether there is any benefit to the local community.

"We will be working with the community and weighing up the pros and cons of each project."

The hope is that anyone who is considering holding an event will consider Gwynedd, as every help possible will be at hand in one of the most beautiful areas of the UK.

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26 Aug 00 | Wales
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