Cash bonanza is prize for victory in City of Culture 2017 battle
SECURING City of Culture 2017 status would be worth millions of pounds to Swansea Bay, according to supporters.
They say the current holder of the title — Derry/Londonderry — has seen a huge boost in jobs, investment, visitors and coverage in the media.
Swansea Council, which is leading the bid with support from Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot, say the Northern Irish experience shows what a positive impact winning the race could have here.
The latest figures from Derry/Londonderry — which is halfway through its year in the cultural spotlight — show that 30 high-profile regional, national and international conferences are being held in the city in 2013, attracting some 6,000 delegates and generating an estimated economic impact of £4.5million.
Meanwhile more than one million people are expected to attend events in the area during 2013, and BBC Radio One's Big Weekend has already visited the city attracting major stars like Bruno Mars and The Script.
Nick Bradley, Swansea Council's cabinet member for Regeneration, said: "We've seen the impact Premier League football has had on Swansea Bay, and successfully securing UK City of Culture 2017 status would be another huge result.
"The benefits the status is already bringing to Derry/Londonderry make for enormously encouraging reading — they show the status not only attracts world class events for people of all ages and interests, but that it also opens up job opportunities for local people and boosts local businesses.
"There's a real opportunity here for everyone in Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot to get behind the bid."
Swansea Bay is up against Dundee, Hull and Leicester for the 2017 crown, after the initial 11 entries were whittled down to a shortlist of four finalists.
Each bidder will now submit detailed proposals for their area, with the winner being chosen in November.
The Swansea Bay bid has already received support from high profile names including actor Michael Sheen and Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies, as well as from Swansea City FC and the Ospreys rugby club.
Councillor Bradley said that more than 3,000 jobs are being created in Derry/Londonderry as a result of its cultural city status, and occupancy levels in the area's hotels for May this year were 12 per cent higher than for the same month last year.
There have also been more than 350 positive pieces of coverage about the area in local, national and international media — including such prestigious publications as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal — and Derry/Londonderry also came in at number four in The Lonely Planet Guide's list of cities to visit in 2013. Councillor Bradley said: "Swansea Bay has got a lot going for it and many people are making us favourites to achieve the status for 2017.
"We're up against strong competition but we know that our first stage bid was well-received and we'll make sure that our next stage bid builds on that."