Labelled as the region that ‘roofed the world’, north west Wales is set for another honour, as the UK nominates the area to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The region, which covers swathes of Gwynedd, including the Ogwen Valley and Blaenau Ffestiniog, claims that by the end of the 19th century enough slate had been mined to rood around 14m terraced houses.
The bid to become a World Heritage Site is widely coveted and could bring a multi-million pound boost to the local economy.
Ioan Thomas, the leader of economic development at Gwynedd Council, has said that a successful nomination could lead to a doubling of jobs in the heritage economy by 2030, with the sector seeing a 65% increase in turnover of £335m.
He said: “The area was the world’s greatest slate exporter during the mid-19th century, and we believe that Gwynedd’s key role in what was such an important global industry is something to be celebrated and promoted… The old quarries – and the labour of those who worked there – still influences how places look all around the world today.”
The heritage industry is already understood to provide work for more than 8,000 people in the Gwynedd economy.
There were one million visits by overseas tourists to Wales last year who spent £369m in the local economy.
Additionally, British residents took nine million overnight trips to the nation, spending £1.6bn.
If successful, the region would be the fourth World Heritage site in Wales, alongside the Blaenavon industrial landscape, the “Castles and Town Walls of King Edward at Gwynedd” and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.
The region would also join the likes of the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef should it win the nomination. Such an achievement would put a new focus on the history of region and its impact on the world.