Senior leaders gathered last week to discuss how Wales can earn a greater market share of business events from the UK and the rest of the world, at the first ever “The Business of Events Wales” conference.
Delegates to “The Business of Events Wales” heard that the country is facing a “golden opportunity” to increase the economic benefit derived from hosting more conferences, meetings and events. But national and worldwide competition is tough and a joined up approach by government and the private sector is essential if Wales is to succeed in its ambitions for the sector.
“The Business of Events Wales” featured a wide range of national and international speakers who set out both the opportunities and challenges facing the Welsh business events community.
Lord Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, said:
“This inaugural event is another way in which we’re looking to be more active in the business events sector and an excellent opportunity to speak to senior leaders to see how we can increase our market share and work together to 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.”
Outlining an international perspective, Professional Convention Management Association Advisory Board Member, Ben Goedegebuure from Maritz Global Events, said:
“Wales has enormous potential to increase its market share of the global business events market. A warm welcome is just one of the traditions that is readily associated with Welsh people. But it’s no easy task, with fierce competition and new destinations emerging all the time. Those that succeed not only have great venues, wonderful scenery and a vibrant cultural life, they also make it very easy to access everything from transport and hotels to specialist academic and research centres.”
Kerrin MacPhie, Head of Business Events at VisitBritain, said:
“VisitBritain is working closely with Visit Wales and its partners to support their business events growth strategy, helping to attract more international business and increase their share of meetings, events and conferences.
“The Business of Events Wales gives VisitBritain an excellent opportunity to work with the Welsh business events community to heighten the importance of business events in Britain, and the benefits that the sector brings to the economy”.
Ian Edwards, Chief Executive of Celtic Manor Resort and the forthcoming International Convention Centre Wales, said:
“The opening of ICC Wales next year is an important milestone not just for the local area but for Wales more widely as well. Our ambition is to lead the way in putting Wales on the national and international map for business events. We won’t achieve that on our own, so it’s important to us that as many people as possible get behind this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and really sell the benefits of hosting all sorts of events in all parts of Wales.”
“The Business of Events Wales” will began with an opening address from Mari Stevens, Director of Marketing for Visit & Business Wales at Welsh Government.
Ben Goedegebuure, PCMA Advisory Board Member, looked at opportunities for Wales from an international perspective, whilst Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) Association Director, Heather Lishman examined the question ‘What do buyers want?’.
Following the announcement of a five point plan to accelerate Wales’ growing share of the global business events market earlier this summer, Welsh Government’s Head of Business Events Heledd Williams discussed the business events strategy for Wales.
Joss Croft, Director of Network Communications at the Department of International Trade, looked at the link between economic sectors and business events and Kerrin MacPhie presented case studies on what makes a successful bid.
Following a successful national event last year, The Business of Events (TBOE) for the UK will be held on 26th October 2018 at the QEII Centre in London. It will be preceded by a Parliamentary debate on the 25th October, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Events Industry. There will also be a regional Business of Events Scotland, which will take place in November.