Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Swansea as a city must grab the current opportunity

Last night Swansea City started their first season in the Premier League.  Whilst the result was not great we all know that the sides survival this season will depend far more on games like the one this coming Saturday than one last night.

Never the less we have to accept that it will be a tough season and could ultimately end in relegation.  Hopefully Swansea will establish themselves as a Premiership club and we will have years of economic benefit, but we as a city will be kicking ourselves if we miss the opportunity and only survive one season.

It is crucial that we make a big impression on all of the fans who visit the area over the coming 10 months and sell ourselves both as a place to holiday and a place to do business.

There has been a debate in recent weeks on how much, if at all, the city will benefit economically.  Whilst pubs, restaurants and hotels will see some benefit whatever, the real lasting benefit is something we will have to make happen.

I agree with those who point out most fans only visit for the day of the game and come straight in and out but we still have an opportunity to sell the area to them.  With the fantastic beaches, golf courses, walking, scenery and seafront we have lots to sell but this needs to be done by somebody.   This is not the clubs responsibility and Swansea City Council or Visit Wales should be stepping in to help the club sell the area and ensure that visiting fans are left with a good impression of Wales.

They might not spend much when the come down on a cold January night but if we sell the area they will come back for a family holiday or a golf weekend.  This is the lasting benefit we can get for Swansea and the surrounding area.

Swansea will also have a global audience for the next 10 months.  Many of the people watching are people who do business in the UK or who want to do business in the UK & Europe.  This is a great opportunity to tell them that Swansea is a beautiful place to live and work and there is no better part of the UK to invest in.

Swansea will see an economic benefit whatever happens over the next year, the size of that benefit is down to us.  It is time for the Council, Visit Wales and the Assembly Government to work together and ensure we don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

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