Stroll on Swansea!
Re-vamped hotels, caravan parks and twitching RSPB eco-warriors, are now the name of the game in this ancient spot of tourist deliverance. Being an inhabitant myself of this sometimes surly town, with its charming mix of old and new minds, Chapel and High church optimism in a heretical world and faded Street blues, those who are attempting to bring some commercial reality to the place are to be congratulated, well, Covid-19 allowing!
But, and where Ruck is concerned as all you readers will know, there has to be a ‘but’, will all this well-intentioned effort pay off? It is certainly in with a chance, but only if those with commercial intent do it properly and with an eye to the outside world – after all, Swansea is hardly renowned for a cosmopolitan approach to things as I well know. Will the pubs succumb to micro-waved grub and vast plasma screens intent on abusing gentle conversation, be the order of the day? Will caravans determined to leave behind their detritus of holiday fun, be allowed to depart with a happy and forgiving Welsh smile? And will your average, silent twitcher be allowed to twitch without fear of intrusion and dastardly human interference?
Challenges indeed, one might think and not mention the disgusting Castle Gardens and everything else that is the town centre – a concrete jungle! What the Swansea City Council must be thinking of here beggars belief! They’re planning department needs a complete overhaul!
Far be it for me to put the boot in. I am an outsider, an interloping English speaking, irreverent heathen (and actually rather proud of the fact as it happens!) and one unfamiliar with traditional Swansea sensibility but one thing I do know, Wales’s only hope for future economic growth is leisure and tourism. This being the case, local businesses if they are to succeed, must cast aside suicidal Welsh insularity and deadly parochialism, otherwise projects such as the above will last a year and be no more. There is a huge and accessible market-place out there, from South America to China. How I long to see a few turbaned heads and mah-jong players stroll along the High Street, because then and only then, will I conclude that Swansea has finally said ‘Hello’ to the outside world.
Look beyond the Severn Bridge Bridge all you business boyos, invest and good luck!