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Momentum is gathering behind the Year of Legends 2017 campaign as two of Wales’ stars are announced as Ambassadors for the year ahead.

First published:
13 January 2017
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Cerys Matthews and Iwan Rheon have thrown their weight behind the campaign which seeks to bring Wales’ past to life like never before, immerse visitors in epic story, and make new legendary experiences through our wealth of festivals and events.

These ambassadors celebrate Wales’ culture and creative industries and our global success in these fields. Iwan and Cerys will joined by others during the year to  celebrate all aspects of the Year of Legends – from food to sport.  

Carmarthen born Iwan was raised in Cardiff, a leading Hollywood actor, he started his acting career on Pobol y Cwm, he is now most well known as being a star in the international series Game of Thrones. In addition to acting, Iwan is also a singer-songwriter. 

Iwan is currently abroad filming for his latest project, Sky Atlantic's new thriller Riviera, he commented: 

“I’m really excited to be a part of this project, I was so lucky to have Wales’ stories, history and culture as part of my upbringing.  Our stories and characters are fascinating and become truly spellbinding when you visit the landscapes and places where these tales and stories are rooted – and you’re never far from a piece of history in Wales. When I’m not in Wales - I never miss an opportunity to talk about it – being an ambassador for the Year of Legends will be an added string to my bow!  I’m looking forward to sharing Wales’ epic story”

Also working as an official Year of Legends ambassador is former Catatonia front-woman and founder of Wales’ Good Life Experience Festival Cerys Matthews, who commented: 

“I’m so excited to share our rich culture and heritage with the rest of the world. Wales’ myths and Legends have been huge inspiration for such creativity – from music, art to literature. By giving a modern-day twist to our stories we can create some legendary experiences and inspire legends for future generations.”

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, said: 

“I’m delighted that Iwan and Cerys have agreed to join us as our Year of Legends ambassadors this year. Our ambassadors play an important role in inspiring the industry and the public and we look forward to working with them on a legendary 2017.

“2017 certainly isn’t about looking backwards, the Year of Legends is about bringing the past to life like never before, with cutting-edge innovation. It’s about creating and celebrating new Welsh legends modern-day personalities, products and events that are made in Wales, or enriched by coming here.”

The Year of Legends follows the successful Year of Adventure – the first in a series of thematic years, which resulted in an epic year - with north Wales being named as one of the top ten places on the planet to visit this year. Visitor numbers also soared with an increase of over 40% in average expenditure from day-visitors to Wales as well as a growth of 15% in international tourism visits during the first six months of 2016. 

The ambassadors will help Visit Wales to spread the word about the Year of Legends during key points of the year through working with the media and on social media to raise awareness of the Year of Legends in Wales.