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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 13:12 GMT
Port town goes euro friendly
Holyhead town centre
Holyhead hopes to attract ferry passengers
An Anglesey town is encouraging businesses to embrace the euro, as the number of visitors from Ireland and mainland Europe continues to grow.

The flow of Irish and international visitors through the ferry port of Holyhead to Ireland has prompted a local partnership to promote the town as a euro friendly zone.

A similar "eurozone" venture launched at last year's Llangollen International Eisteddfod proved a hit with visitors to the music festival and it is being repeated again this year.

Holyhead is considered one of the major gateways to Ireland with about 2.4m passengers passing through each year.

Ireland converted to the European currency in February 2002, replacing the Irish punt.

The scheme is being developed by the Holy Island Partnership in conjunction with the town council and the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire Link.

Around 20 businesses in Holyhead are already accepting the euro as payment.

Among them are the Anglesey Hotel, the King's Arms and the Gateway Restaurant and Tea Shop.

Gateway's owner, Ronnie Lynas, said: "The introduction of the euro has proved to be extremely beneficial to ourselves.

"We get many visitors here, many of whom are European and North Americans travelling through to Ireland.

Businesses in Holyhead already accept euros

"The single currency in Europe has meant that holiday makers do not have the inconvenience of changing their currency."

Now, the town's Woolworth store is joining the initiative.

The store says it is accepting euros to make life easier for its customers, particularly those coming over from Ireland.

Manager Paul Coates said: "It has become clear that shoppers in the area appreciate the flexibility of using both currencies.

"We will be able to accept euros within the next two weeks."

Attract visitors

Holyhead Councillor Cliff Everett welcomed Woolworth's decision.

He said: "Euro friendly business should obviously take account of any relevant currency charges."

The Irish connection has prompted another tourist-reliant business in north west Wales to accept dual currency.

The Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon is owned by a chain of Irish hotels.

A spokesperson said: "We are run by the Whites chain of Irish hotels.

"We accept euros, mainly from Irish customers who are booking through the chain in Ireland."

No change

However, Caernarfon castle, owned by Cadw, has no plans to deal in any currency other than stirling at the moment.

And a spokesperson for the Tourist Information Centre in Llanberis, which attracts climbers and mountaineers from all over the world, said he was not aware of any local businesses accepting euros either.

In the surfer's Mecca of Abersoch, a tourism officer said businesses do not see the need to change their ways despite the village's reputation as one of the Llyn Peninsula's foremost tourist attractions.

"The consensus here is 'Why change?'" said the spokesperson.

"Nobody feels the need to accept euros at the moment - people are quite set in their ways here," she added.

But on Anglesey it is seen as another step in the drive to boost the economy and regenerate Holyhead.

To encourage more to join the scheme, the council is producing window stickers and special information packs for businesses.

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