North Wales Weekly News - - FRONT PAGE - Weekly News Re­porter ben.but­ler@trin­i­tymir­ By BEN BUT­LER

THE re­turn of snooker’s World Grand Prix to Llan­dudno has been hailed as a “real boost for tourism”.

The tour­na­ment, which in­volves some of the best snooker play­ers on the planet, was new to the cal­en­dar last sea­son and re­ceived a fan­tas­tic re­cep­tion in North Wales.

It proved a great suc­cess as fans flocked to Venue Cymru to see an ar­ray of green baize stars in­clud­ing Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van, Judd Trump, John Higgins and Mark Selby.

The 2016 World Grand Prix runs from March 8-13 at the same venue.

Busi­nesses say they are look­ing for­ward to the trade and tourism boost the tour­na­ment will bring to the area.

Ge­off Loft­house, gen­eral man­ager of the Im­pe­rial Ho­tel in Llan­dudno, said: “We had Judd Trump, the win­ner stay­ing with us last year.

“It’s a good re­sult all-round that it will re­turn as it gets a lot of peo­ple in­ter­ested and the ho­tel was very busy. This is good for tourism and our cus­tomers.”

Nathan Cousins, sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager at St Ge­orge’s Ho­tel, said: “We had a num­ber of play­ers and mem­bers of the media stay­ing in the ho­tel last year.

“It’s good for our trade and for tourism in the town. I welcome it – it’s a real boost for tourism.”

Es­ther Roberts, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of North Wales Tourism, said events such as this pro­vide a “sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion” to the econ­omy by at­tract­ing new busi­ness and giv­ing peo­ple another rea­son to visit the area.

She said: “The fact that this tourna- ment is re­turn­ing to Llan­dudno re­flects Conwy Coun­cil’s com­mit­ment and fund­ing for stag­ing events.”

The tour­na­ment will be a rank­ing event for the first time, with money earned to count to­wards the world rank­ing list.

The field for the ITV4-tele­vised event will com­prise 32 play­ers chas­ing the tro­phy and a top prize of £100,000.

A unique rank­ing list will run from the 2015 Aus­tralian Gold­fields Open un­til the 2016 Gdy­nia Open, with the top 32 play­ers on that list el­i­gi­ble to en­ter the World Grand Prix.

Young pot­ting sen­sa­tion Judd Trump, who won the ti­tle last sea­son, com­ing from 7-4 down in a su­perb fi­nal to beat Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van 10-7, added: “The World Grand Prix is a fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to the cal­en­dar. I’m pleased to see it be­come a rank­ing event be­cause that means there is more at stake and it will help the tour­na­ment grow.”

Tick­ets aree on sale now and are al­ready selling fast. For a lim­ited time only, there is also a half price of­fer from just £5 for stan­dard tick­ets for the first three days of the tour­na­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion on book­ing a ticket, call 01492 872000 or visit www. world­­ets.

Graham Dott in ac­tion against Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van (main), win­ner Judd Trump (inset top) and The Im­pe­rial Ho­tel’s Ge­off Loft­house (inset, bot­tom)

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