By Kate Madley
It’s a big weekend for Wales – not only in sporting terms but also for the businesses hosting the thousands of visitors coming to the Cardiff region for the climax of the RBS 6 Nations rugby tournament.
The Millennium Stadium and its 72,500 seats will be filled with fans as defending champions Wales take on England in the match that will decide this year’s title.
And, as the Welsh team display their talents on the pitch, leisure and tourism businesses will be showcasing their hospitality on one of the busiest weekends of the year.
“As a city centre hotel in Cardiff, we enjoy a huge upturn in business when sporting events take place in our city,” said Claire Carro, director of sales, Cardiff Marriott. “Demand is high and we have a great opportunity to fill our rooms for the weekend.
“Trade as a whole increases as hotel guests and local visitors use our bars and restaurant for pre and post event celebrations along with dining. Our guests are a mix of leisure guests and corporate guests all coming together to enjoy the atmosphere a sporting event brings to the city.”
But just as city centre businesses enjoy a boost in trade, major sporting events also benefit hotels throughout the south Wales area.
“Without doubt, the hosting of major sporting events always results in a positive impact on the economy localised around that event,” said Paul Beddoe, sales and marketing director, at the Vale Resort.
“Cardiff benefits significantly when the RBS 6 Nations is in town. Here, at the Vale Resort, the hotel has been fully booked for almost six months. And more than 200 people, with the majority of them coming from England, are attending our official corporate hospitality event – almost all of them non-residents.
“Last July, we hosted the Trinidad and Tobago Pre-Olympic Games training camp, which had spin offs for a number of sporting arenas in Cardiff, as well as local shops and restaurants.
“At a recent meeting with the Welsh Government’s Major Events Strategy unit, the overall benefit of Wales hosting Pre-Olympic training camps is said to be more than £2 million, once again proving that sport is a lucrative market.
“2013 is a good year with the Speedway coming back to Cardiff, the Wales Rally GB and many matches of the Rugby League World Cup being played in Wales.”
Paul Williams, PR Manager at The Celtic Manor Resort, host of the 2010 Ryder Cup, which attracted visitors from around the globe to Wales, said: “We can always guarantee all 403 bedrooms at Celtic Manor will be fully booked for the Saturday night of a Wales v England rugby fixture, and we only have a few rooms left to sell this Friday as well.”
“All of the RBS 6 Nations fixtures produce a spike in visitors and we offer both transport to the Millennium Stadium for home games and viewing in our bars and golf clubhouses for all matches, which always generates a good atmosphere around the resort. We have also shown the matches in 3D in the Cellar Bar for the first time this year. The visit of England is always the big one, though, and there is added anticipation this time with the championship at stake in the final fixture.”