A wide range of speakers stressed the need for there to be joined up thinking between the private and public sectors if opportunities are to be realised, although an overseas representative from PCMA remarked that “the high level of UK VAT is a barrier to attract international events”. A reminder that the call for a reduction in this tax must continue.
At this inaugural TBOE Wales event, delegates, including WTA, met to discuss how Wales can increase market share of business events from the UK and overseas. The UK Events sector is currently worth £42 billion, with Wales contributing £840 million (2%), highlighting clear potential for growth. For information, Scotland’s share is 8.9%.The choice of venue was appropriate given that the new International Convention Centre Wales will open in Summer 2019. This purpose built facility will be able to accommodate 5,000 delegates and will include a 1500 seat auditorium. There can be no doubt that it will be a “game changer” in terms of raising the profile of Wales as an events destination. To date, £2 million of bookings have been secured, worth £18 million to the Welsh economy. The Business Events Strategy for Wales was presented by Heledd Williams (HOD), who outlined the role of the newly created VisitWales Business Events Department – and set out ways as to how tourism businesses can become more engaged in developing this market sector.
With reference to the recent Welsh Government publication, “Selling Wales to the World” and in particular Conclusion 12), WTA Chair Andrew Campbell asked what more can be done to involve stakeholders in capitalising on events held in Wales – and also commented that the ICC is perceived by some businesses as a South East Wales project, which will not deliver wider economic benefits. The assertion was refuted, with many ideas and examples given as to how opportunities can be accrued, both within and outside the region. For further information businesses should access the Meet in Wales website - https://www.visitwales.com/businessevents