Passion brings local business boost

26 April 2011

Crowds of shoppers in Aberafan Shopping Centre, Saturday 23 April. Picture: Donglin Xu

As The Passion Play unfolded at different sites across Port Talbot, thousands swarmed into the small town leaving local businesses feeling the benefit.

Many pubs and restaurants in the town centre were packed on Saturday as the play‘s events moved there from the seafront.
Belinda Morgan, manager of Caffé Latte, said with a big smile on her face that the event had been very helpful for local businesses, and that their business had been “brilliant” with an increase in customers of about 50 per cent.

“It’s being quite busy. We’ve had a lot more people than we normally would have. It’s been a nice boost ”, she said.

Huge crowds flocked into the Aberafan Shopping Centre, the venue for the third episode of the performance.
As many people dropped in to see the show they also popped into the shops as well.
Wilkinson supermarket and fashion dealer Store 21 at the shopping centre both witnessed a business an increase of about ten per cent on their usual trade for a Saturday.

Nicole Davies, assistant manager of Store 21, said that they had done better than they expected.

“Port Talbot has just been bouncing over the past couple of days. We’ve obviously benefited there from people coming into the town. Definitely, it has helped us. We’ve seen an increase as the weekend’s going on.”

Taxi driver William Huw Davies had taken 15 fares by lunchtime, about four more than it normally would have been. And he was looking forward to more business as the numbers in the town kept swelling during the duration of The Passion.

“I was expecting a little bit more” he said. “but I’m hoping it will be even busier.”

Blanco’s Hotel in the town had all their 63 rooms booked out and their restaurant was also taking a bumper number of bookings.
Many locals were expecting Michael Sheen’s play to Port Talbot on the world map, and duty manager Jessica Kehoe of Blanco’s Hotel hoped it could promote tourism in Port Talbot and benefit the local hospitality sector more.

“Hopefully it will bring people here just to see what we have got, not just think it is an industrial town. There’s more to the town than that. ”

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