Business experts predict the fairytale success of the Welsh football team at the Euros will generate a £25 million economic boost for the country.
They say the brilliant campaign when Chris Coleman’s side and the Welsh fans captured the world’s imagination will also help attract more companies to set up shop here.
That’s the view of business leaders including Gill Kreft, the Chair of Wrexham Business Professionals, and Jim Jones, the managing director of North Wales Tourism.
Gill Kreft said: “Chris Coleman’s squad have performed brilliantly and they have made the whole nation glow with pride.
“With Gareth Bale leading from the front, each and every one of them is a star and their place in the annals of Welsh history is assured.
“Their impact is, however, more than just a sporting phenomenon because they are also a force for economic good in the sense that they have put Wales on the map and have made us look like an attractive prospect in terms of doing business.
“The heroics on the football pitches of Euro 2016 and the wonderfully friendly behaviour of the fans is a brilliant advertisement for Wales and will undoubtedly help attract inward investment in future.
“Our footballing success can also inspire and galvanise indigenous Welsh companies to adopt a more positive, proactive approach so that the business dragons roar too.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Jim Jones who said: “I take my hat off to the Wales team and everybody connected to it – they are a credit to the whole nation and great ambassadors for our country.
“The impeccable, amicable and irrepressible behaviour of our fans is also exemplary and reflects well on us all.
“The publicity generated by the brilliant Euro 2016 campaign is priceless – you just can’t buy that kind of exposure
“As a result, they have put us on the map in a very upbeat way and one that will also undoubtedly have a very positive impact on the visitor economy.
“I feel sure that many people who have barely heard of Wales will want to come here to visit and that is going to help us generate more prosperity through tourism which is already worth £2 billion a year to the North Wales economy.”
Ceidiog Hughes, managing director of leading PR firm Ceidiog Communication, reckoned the value of the positive worldwide publicity generated for Wales by the Euro 2016 campaign was at least £25 million.
He said: “The performance of the Welsh team and the fans has been utterly brilliant and has gone way beyond the sports pages of the global media.
“Going into the tournament, we were seen very much as the underdogs but our epic journey means that this group of players are already all-time legends in Wales. Their place in history is already assured.
“Their success against the odds and the unbreakable spirit of this band of brothers is essentially a romantic story that has captured the world’s imagination.
“The momentum started building from the word go and each match generated more and more interest in Chris Coleman’s heroes – and consequently more and more coverage across the planet.
“You can’t buy exposure like that and, while it’s difficult to quantify precisely, the coverage must be worth at least £25 million.
“As Chris Coleman has said, this is the first chapter of a new story about Welsh football. This is not the end, it’s the beginning of a new journey that will see is going into the World Cup qualifiers with a new sense of confidence and belief.”
John Lyon, managing director of Deeside-based Rubicon Garden Rooms, said: “You can see there is real passion in the Welsh team, to do their very best for the country, for their fans and for each other.
“That bond between the players has been nurtured and encouraged by Chris Coleman – he is an inspiration in his approach to being a manager, and one that we in the world of business should seek to replicate.
“As a company, your key asset is your team and a good manager works to build on that team bond to deliver results – whether it’s increased productivity or the very best in customer service.
“Chris Coleman has pushed the Welsh players to believe they can achieve the very best, and that’s a lead we can all follow in our daily lives, whether at work or at home.”