Economy Minister launches new ambitious events strategy for Wales

Economy Minister launches new ambitious events strategy for Wales

A NEW strategy to help create jobs and spread economic prosperity by encouraging a wide range of successful, sustainable and authentically Welsh events right across Wales has been launched by the Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething.

The National Events Strategy for Wales 2022 to 2030 builds on the unprecedented growth of events in Wales over the past two decades.

During that time, Wales has supported events of all shapes and sizes, including major international events such as the Ryder Cup in 2010, Womex 2013, the NATO summit in 2014, Ashes Tests, the UEFA Champions League Final in 2017, and stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018. We have also attracted world-leading business events such as the International Golf Travel Market and seen the development of distinctive home-grown festivals such as Focus Wales, Tafwyl and Steelhouse.

The new strategy has been developed in partnership with the events industry and is designed to encourage outstanding, cross-Wales events that support the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of people, places and the planet. It is aimed at ensuring that events expand on the contribution they make to the seven goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

The strategy seeks to encourage events of all shapes and sizes that are located in every corner of Wales, spread across all seasons and representative of Welsh culture. It is based around three main themes:

align the industry: to be resilient and prosperous, the industry will develop a strong voice that ensures all stakeholders are aligned and working in collaboration towards common outcomes;

authenticity: events in Wales will have a distinct Welshness regardless of size, scale, or location. This will include the Welsh language, reflect the Cymru Wales Brand, and the Well-being of Future Generations Act criteria; and

all of Wales: the industry will maximise existing assets, spread its events across Wales and across the year, and aim to achieve equality, diversity, and inclusion.

The strategy will be built around the pillars of people, place and planet. We will now work in partnership with the sector on a detailed implementation plan which will aim to create job opportunities within the sector and develop the skills base of people who work in the industry, through knowledge sharing and the provision of training opportunities.

The strategy recommends identifying and promoting Wales’ natural assets, such as coastlines and landscape, so they can be built into the delivery and promotion of events in Wales.

Sustainability is at the heart of the strategy with event organisers encouraged to consider the resources and materials they use, and where they are from.

Stakeholders from the event sector today gathered at the Royal Welsh Collage of Music and Drama in Cardiff to discuss the way forward and implementation of the new strategy.

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Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“My priority as Economy Minister is creating a more prosperous Welsh economy. We want Wales to be a country where people do not have to leave to get on. That’s why we’re determined to create good jobs in the communities people live in.

Wales is well known for our warm Welsh welcome and outstanding hospitality. What has been achieved in the last twenty years in terms of hosting and delivering events in Wales is nothing short of remarkable. From being a new and relatively unknown host and generator of events, we’ve now reached a stage of maturity with extensive experience and an impressive list of successes as part of our reputation as an events host.

Covid, of course, interrupted this growth, and the impact of the pandemic cannot be underestimated. The events sector was one of the first to close, and last to open. The importance of events to the visitor economy and the well-being of the nation was recognised by the support the Welsh Government provided to the sector under the Cultural Recovery Fund and the close, open and robust engagement we had with stakeholders during the pandemic.

That level of engagement and vital cooperative working between the sector and Government was one of the few positives that came from the pandemic. Our work will now continue to draw on the partnerships forged over the last two years, this is a strategy for the whole sector, for us to deliver together, and make amazing things happen in unusual and unlikely places.

We now look forward to another ambitious decade for the Welsh Events sector.”

Steve Hughson, Royal Welsh Show, and representative of the Event Wales Industry Advisory Group, added:

“We welcome this strategy that commits the Welsh Government to continue supporting our vibrant event sector that is bouncing back strong after the pandemic.

The launch of this strategy is timely against that challenging landscape with increasing costs, staff shortages and supply chain issues and the event sector were able to make these important points as it fed into the development of the strategy. We will now build on strong relationships formed during the pandemic to create a deliverable implementation plan that works for all stakeholders.”

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