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Wales announces new business events approach

Following on from Wales’ success in attracting and hosting global events like the UEFA Champion’s League Final, and the NATO Wales Summit 2014, Economy Secretary, Ken Skates has announced the Welsh Government is planning a new approach to attract leading business events to Wales, further showcasing the destination on an international stage.

The Wales stand at The Meetings Show at Olympia (13-15 June) is the first initiative in the development of a dedicated national approach. The Wales stand will include - ICC Wales, Celtic Manor Resort, Visit Cardiff, Vale Resort, Venue Cymru, Cambria DMC, Call of the Wild, Surf Snowdonia and Fforest.

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, said: “Wales has built an enviable track record of successfully hosting many of the world’s biggest events and following last weekend’s UEFA Champions League Final – the single biggest sporting event of 2017 – we’re now looking at building on our experience to attract leading business events to Wales.

“Wales currently attracts under 2% of the value of business conferences and meetings for the UK as a whole but there is significant potential to draw events from UK and international associations, public & third sector meetings, corporate meetings and team building events to Wales’s award-winning venues and business destinations.

“A small dedicated team will be set up with its main goal to attract events aligned with Wales’ key sectors and growth regions being targeted for inward investment, FDI and economic development plus academic, scientific or medical excellence. Wales will be showcased as an agile and innovative nation with a truly global outlook. Synergy with target growth sectors such as Advanced Materials & Manufacturing, Financial & Professional Services and Energy provide real opportunities to attract business events to Wales.

“As a compact connected country, Wales can open doors to innovators, industry experts, professors and scientists with genuine insight into their individual field.”

This is a pan-Wales initiative, spreading the business event impact across Wales’ economy whilst also benefitting from the momentum provided by ICC Wales and follows VisitBritain’s return to the international business events market, providing further opportunities for Wales.

Notes to Editors

Supportive comments

Heledd Williams, Head of Tourism, Venues and Event Marketing for Visit Cardiff, said:

“Cardiff is firmly established on the world stage for hosting prestigious events - historically sporting events - but the Welsh Capital is raising its game in the business sector, with a recent industry survey voting Cardiff as the 6th best location across the UK for holding business conferences and events.

“The city is compact and with so many conference venues in close proximity – the city centre is in effect a conference centre. How we market the city to the business community has taken great strides forwards, with marketing tools such as and the invaluable advice offered through the Cardiff Convention Bureau.

“Whether the requirement is for the corporate sector, agencies or associations, it is proven that Cardiff can deliver. The opportunity to grow and further establish ourselves in this sector will be realised through the collaborative approach of the Cardiff Capital Region.
“The city may be leading the way in Wales, but our focus has to be wider and with the continued investment and growth of our capital city, the opportunities to further expand and establish ourselves in this sector are vast. Therefore seeing Wales invest further in this sector is great news for the industry, the country and the capital.”

Adrian Le Trobe Conference and Events manager – Venue Cymru, said:

“Venue Cymru, Llandudno, welcomes that the Welsh Government is fully supportive of the business event market, which is the UK’s 16th largest employer with more than 530,000 directly employed. The economic impact from the direct and indirect spending that these events have on the local economy is phenomenal.
“Wales has so much to offer within this industry, therefore it is imperative that, as a nation, we work closely together in order to deliver the best possible events here in Wales. It is vital that we attract international and global events for the country’s continued economic growth and we look forward to working with our partners throughout the country in the coming years.”

James Lynch, Fforest Chief said:

“We are nothing like a conference centre but we do (almost) everything a conference centre can. And more. Fforest is a place to build fires, kindle reputations and inspire. Each event regardless of scale represents an opportunity to show the very best of Wales, its culture, beauty, local produce. The support of Welsh Government in this important market will provide us with the resources to go the extra mile in creating a country-wide reputation for Wales as a place to meet. This is a market with a high proportion of influencers attending events. I believe that creating and sustaining a reputation for all the great things wales has to offer amongst these visitors will have huge benefits for the general tourism industry and the wider economy as a whole.”

Aled Rees Managing Director at Cambria DMC, said:

“As a full service Destination Management Company focused solely on Wales, our aim is to showcase the varied offer that Wales can provide for a business event by creating truly unique and memorable experiences for all business visitors. By sharing our own expertise and working closely with existing venues within Wales, we aspire to elevate current business travel within the country.
“Wales not only boasts a selection of world class facilities, but it has a rich culture which allows us to offer innovative bespoke experiences to make any event extraordinary. We are delighted to have the support of the Welsh Government in this crucial market as demand for Wales and for one-of-a-kind events and business travel continues to grow.”