The global business events market is discovering Wales as a well-connected destination, with a focus on wellbeing, sustainability and academic excellence. The new National Event Strategy for Wales, supports this by setting out how it will continue to support the Welsh events industry, through the spread of economic prosperity, and support the creation of jobs and continue to build on the collaborative relationship with the events sector.
Wales has shown global audiences that we do not lack the initiative to take on prestigious events, as shown by the bidding and winning of hosting of a Ryder Cup, a NATO summit, UEFA Champions League Final, the IGTM (International Golf Travel Market), WWE and for 2026 the World Chefs Congress & Expo 2026 to name a few.
By working with public and private sector partners in Wales and the UK, Wales has built strong and effective relationships with global event owners and planners, gaining their respect, trust and confidence in Wales’ event hosting capability. When event planners and owners choose Wales, they are assured of close and effective links between Welsh Government and local partners, who work together to deliver high quality events.
Business events have consistently demonstrated their contribution to the economic prosperity of Wales as well as to our international profile. Wales’ most recent events venue, Swansea Arena and the forthcoming Cardiff Arena, enhance the offering for event owners alongside established facilities such as the International Convention Centre Wales, Venue Cymru, the Principality Stadium and the Royal Welsh Showground.
Making the most out of our breath-taking landscapes and open spaces, in order to ensure that delegates and visitors have lasting memories of Wales. From landmark and food tours in a bustling capital city, to canyoning in Welsh countryside river, from hiking and stargazing in National Parks to dolphin watching tours on the crystal blue seas along the beautiful Coastal National Park, there’s always a reason why, owners delegates and visitors extend and repeat their visits to Wales.
Destination spotlight: ICC Wales
As leaders in the Welsh events industry, ICC Wales know all about the importance of showcasing Wales as a destination. Sales director, Danielle Bounds agrees that it’s always about selling Wales, ‘as long as they’re coming to Wales that’s really our priority.’ Ensuring events represent all of Wales and promote a distinct ‘Welshness’ doesn’t detract from appealing to global audiences, on the contrary ‘international visitors are looking to immerse themselves in the territories they visit.’
Aside from the hard-to-miss, 22 tonne, red steel Welsh dragon that overlooks the M4, ICC Wales weaves Welsh authenticity throughout every aspect of their venue with bilingual signage, a warm Welsh welcome and even integrating local produce and dishes into their menus.
Another major selling point to international clients is their commitment to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, something that goes hand in hand with the new National Event Strategy. With the act having been in place since 2015, Danielle notes that Wales has always been ahead of the game when it comes to considering sustainability, and this is no different within the event industry, ‘we’ve been doing this forever, before it was cool to care.’ From the design and construction of the venue, to engaging with the local community, aligning with the future generations act has been far more than a box-ticking activity for ICC Wales, as they demonstrate the importance of replicating this across the industry.
Destination spotlight: Venue Cymru
As the face of conference centres in North Wales, Venue Cymru offers a unique contribution to our events industry. Events manager at Conwy Council – owners of Venue Cymru - Adrian La Trobe, stresses North Wales’ capability of hosting major business events, and its ability to offer different experiences to those you might find in a bigger UK destination. He says “Visitors can go from being in a conference session, to the beach, or the mountains within a single day, you’re not actually going to get that ability to experience all these different environments and activities in a conference in the middle of a major city like Birmingham or Manchester.’
Adrian adds that the challenge is brand recognition, saying potential clients do not often consider Wales or look beyond South Wales as options. The new National Event Strategy for Wales addresses this by establishing ‘All of Wales’ as a strategic pillar that seeks to maximise the geographical and seasonal spread of events across Wales.
Professional ambassadors attracting world-class business events to Wales
The Ambassador Wales Conference Programme capitalises on a network of influential people - proud of their Welsh heritage and connections, they recognise the world-leading nature of our business and academic proposition and the economic and social benefits of hosting business events in Wales.
The Ambassadors play their parts in internationalisation of events and the network itself also acts as a reminder of the value of face to face meetings, post-Covid.
The National Event Strategy for Wales lays the foundation for showcasing Wales as an event nation. It’s focus in on attracting and developing a spread of events across seasons and genres, that reflect Welsh culture, our sustainability goals and global appeal. As well as promoting Wales as an event destination, the events will spread economic prosperity and create jobs for those living here.
A key element needed to elevate existing work and really take advantage of new and improved venues, is leading on business events. Wales has the tools to show its strength in hosting major business events in areas aligned to our purpose-built infrastructure, a new destination for meetings, conferences, high end incentives and thought leadership team building experiences.
Investment from Welsh Government in venues like ICC Wales and Venue Cymru will be catalytic in increasing Wales’ current 1.6% share in a UK business events market of £34 billion.