Influx of visitors expected in 100th year since birth of poet and hellraiser, who died in 1953 at the age of 39
The bookshops are stocking up, the hotels undergoing spring-cleans and the pubs preparing to welcome guests keen to follow in the footsteps of Wales's most famous poet and hellraiser.
Admirers of Dylan Thomas are expected to descend in droves on South Wales this year not just from across the UK but from the US, Europe and the far east to join a year-long celebration marking the centenary of his birth.
At the same time, as part of the Dylan Thomas 100 festivities, the Welsh government and the British Council Wales are organising a series of cultural events and education initiatives across North America, India, Australia and Argentina to further spread the word about Thomas – and Wales.
Jeff Towns, who runs Dylans Bookstore in Swansea, city of Thomas's birth in October 1914, said he was expecting the centenary to reinforce the poet's global reputation as well as providing an economic boost for the region.
"The Americans took Thomas to heart after his death in New York, especially after the likes of Richard Burton and Bob Dylan made their admiration for him clear," said Towns. "He was elevated to an icon alongside the likes of James Dean."
Towns, such a fan that he sports a tattoo of the Thomas line: "Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means", said continental Europe came to love the writer not for his roistering image and rock'n'roll early death aged 39, but simply for his poetry.
"I've always found that Europeans, especially Scandinavians, took to him without the prejudice that he has faced in England and Wales. They are more interested in the work on the page rather than the man."
But Thomas's reputation has not always been as solid in Wales as in other parts of the world. One theory is that as a non-native speaker he was considered not Welsh enough in Wales – but was regarded as too Welsh by the English. Towns also believes that his reputation as a womaniser and drinker upset the puritanical element in Wales.
However, it sounds as if Wales may be ready to finally embrace Thomas. The first minister, Carwyn Jones, is a big fan, revealing to the Guardian that his favourite character from Under Milk Wood is the blind Captain Cat, who dreams of his long-gone shipmates and lost lover Rosie Probert in Thomas's play for voices.
The first minister chuckled as he pointed out how Thomas's fictional village in Under Milk Wood – Llareggub – spelled out something rather rude backwards. "That shows the devilment of the man."
Jones has launched the Dylan 100 international programme– Starless and Bible Black – a phrase from Under Milk Wood. The idea is to put on a series of cultural events and also to offer teaching notes about Thomas to schools across the world to spread the word even further.
The first minister said: "We look forward to the celebrations and events taking place in London, across the UK and internationally. As the momentum behind this great festival gathers apace, I hope that many visitors will be encouraged to visit Wales and discover the inspiration that lies behind the legacy."
It will help that a star-studded cast of ambassadors from actors including Michael Sheen and Rob Brydon to poets such as Carol Ann Duffy and the National Poet Of Wales, Gillian Clarke, are promoting the celebrations in Britain and across the globe.
The city and council of Swansea – described by Thomas as an "ugly, lovely town" – is working hard to tempt big American names.
Nick Bradley, the council member for regeneration, is hoping that Bill Clinton, a Thomas fan, will visit for the centenary. He would not be the first former president to make the pilgrimage: Jimmy Carter opened the city's Dylan Thomas Centre in 1995. "We are hoping the Americans will come. Thomas is still a big thing there, especially on the east coast," said Bradley.
Forty miles west, preparations for the Thomas celebrations are under way in Laugharne, home to Thomas's boathouse and writing shed, which boasts a wondrous view of no fewer than four estuaries. It was here he wrote Under Milk Wood, which was inspired in part by the people of the town.
Brown's Hotel , where Thomas said he used to like to "moulder" and write at a wrought iron table facing the door, has just completed a timely refurbishment. Manager Jon Tregenna said he had heard a whisper that the American actor Johnny Depp, who has Thomas letters and manuscripts, may make an appearance.
Tregenna is expecting not only Americans and Europeans but Chinese and Japanese enthusiasts who are increasingly relishing Thomas's poetry.
"We're seeing bookings up already. I think we're going to have a great year," he said.
Not all are totally convinced that the hordes will come. George Tremlett, who has written books about Thomas and runs the Corran bookshop in Laugharne, said: "We could all do with a little bit more prosperity. We'll see what happens."
But he is wise enough not to depend too much on Thomas for his living. "We actually sell more Jane Austen and the Brontës, than Thomas."
• This article was amended on 6 January 2013 to correct a hoards/hordes homophone.