'It's put Abergele on the map' say excited locals ahead of I'm A Celebrity

Video report by ITV Wales News reporter Ian Lang.

Excitement is growing among Abergele locals ahead of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, which launches its 20th series from the north Wales town on Sunday.

Businesses are hoping the series will bring an influx of visitors to the town, and are taking every opportunity to give tourists the I'm A Celebrity experience.

It comes after a tough year for north Wales, with tourism normally generating £1.8bn for its economy each year.

With less than five days to go, pubs, cafes and shops are busy creating Ant and Dec window displays and offering their own versions of the infamous Bushtucker Trial.

Some locals said they are more excited about Ant and Dec arriving than the celebrity contestants. Credit: ITV Wales

Dave Hargreaves has cleaned windows in Abergele for 42 years, including those on Gwrych Castle, where the series is being filmed.

He said he has seen the 19th-century building go through "the good and the bad times".

"Everybody's buzzing - everybody's feeling great about it," he added, ahead of the series.

"Especially with what's going on in the world today, it's a great occasion."

He continued: "Later on in the year, everybody's going to be coming down and wanting to go and have a look around the castle, where celebrities have been.

"The more that they can put into the castle, the better it is, because it's a fantastic spot where it is - it's beautiful."

Window cleaner Dave Hargreaves said the series will be "very good" for Abergele and its surrounding areas. Credit: ITV Wales

Many business owners are hoping the series will provide an opportunity to make back the money they have lost during the pandemic.

The ban on travel, meeting in groups and the closure of visitor attractions during lockdown put a big strain on Louis Sumner-Ellis' business, escape rooms Locked In North Wales.

He believes I'm A Celebrity will encourage more tourists to visit Abergele.

"Instead of people just driving past and going to Snowdonia, they're now going to see the sign for Abergele and think 'that's where I'm A Celebrity was', and maybe pass through and see what the town has to offer.

"I can't believe how busy the town has been," he added.

"You see people getting all their shops ready and decorating, and there's so much going on in the town. There's just a buzz about."

Louis is hoping the celebrities will spend some time in Abergele after being evicted from the castle. Credit: ITV Wales

Tracey Hargreaves runs a cafe in Abergele specialising in milkshakes and offering children's craft activities, and says the series has come at a perfect time.

"It's definitely an unexpected boost. Everyone is talking about it, and everyone all over the country knows where Abergele is now.

"It's great for businesses, and it's great for customers as well."

Tracey is anticipating a wave of visitors as the series gets underway, and is offering I'm A Celebrity-themed activites including star collecting challenges, and a Bushtucker Trial-inspired milkshake.

"We've had a few extra bookings this weekend from people we don't know, so not regulars, so I'm presuming they're from different areas."

Sugar Den is offering a "nasty tasting" Bushtucker Trial milkshake, which if consumed is replaced with a milkshake of the customer's choice. Credit: ITV Wales

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