The Strategy will build on opportunities arising from the Ryder Cup to create Wales' first co-ordinated and systematic approach to delivering and hosting future major events.
In launching the strategy, the Deputy First Minister will outline the successes that Wales has had in hosting major events, from the Rugby World Cup in 1999 to the summer’s successful BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend at the Faenol Estate in Bangor as well as long standing signature events such as the National and Urdd Eisteddfodau; Hay Festival; Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and The Royal Welsh Show.
The Deputy First Minister said:
“We now have a sound platform on which to build Wales’ position in a fiercely competitive global market. We want to see further growth and innovation. Our Economic Renewal Programme in the Assembly Government fully and clearly recognises the importance we attach to Major Events and the key role played by the creative industries more widely.
“This Major Events Strategy is our guide to action so that the whole of Wales reaps the rewards offered by the events industry. Hosting the Ryder Cup has demonstrated that we can challenge historic traditions which may have held us down in the past, and Wales is now delivering the Ryder Cup on behalf of a continent, and going forward we will work with Welsh, UK and International Federations to realise the huge untapped potential that remains in other sporting events as well as in artistic and cultural genres.
“The strategy will focus on supporting four types of events Major Events, Signature Events, Mega Events and Growth Events, all of which will be assessed for support in line with the Assembly Government’s One Wales Agenda.”
The Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said:
“The Major Events Strategy will enable us to develop a sustainable portfolio of world class events which will raise international recognition and reputation of Wales and strongly reflect our culture, traditions and values. As we have seen with the Ryder Cup and The Ashes Test, sporting events can play an important role in promoting sport development and encouraging healthier lifestyles through regular exercise. The Major Events Unit will continue to work with Sport Wales and the national governing bodies of sport to ensure that we give priority to those events which add value to the sports in question.”
At the launch of the strategy, the Ministers will be joined by sports, cultural and tourism experts in Wales as well as key decision makers who are responsible for selecting the destination of major sporting and cultural events. Panel members for the Question and Answer session included Iwan Trefor Jones, Gwynedd County Council; Roger Lewis, Welsh Rugby Union; Huw Jones, Sport Wales; Paul Russell, Glamorgan Cricket; Dai Smith, Arts Council of Wales and Fiona Stewart, Green Man.
Iwan Trefor Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Corporate Director, said:
“Gwynedd Council has placed great emphasis on attracting events to the area due to the direct economic benefits that they bring as well as to raise the profile of the county as a good place to live and do business. It’s Important that the area is portrayed as vibrant and exciting so that our young people have a desire to stay here as well as to attract visitors. Recent research shows us that the direct economic benefits to Gwynedd of hosting events over the past year has been in the region of £10 million.”
Paul Russell, Chairman Glamorgan Cricket, said:
“The success of the Ashes Test held in Cardiff in 2009 received universal and global acclaim. It has firmly positioned Cardiff as an established venue for International Cricket. From now until 2016, Cardiff will stage more International Cricket than any other city in the UK with the exception of London, which has two Test Match Stadia. More importantly, the event confirmed the ability of Wales to host global sporting events and the unrivalled attraction of our Country as a tourist venue.”
Fiona Stewart, Managing Director of Green Man, said:
"The Assembly Government's Major Events Unit followed Green Man closely for 18 months to evaluate the festival. They recognised that the festival was generating income and tourism into the region, appreciated initiatives we currently undertake to support charities and regional projects, and felt that the festival brand was an asset to Wales.
“They acknowledged this success by supporting the development of projects to increase the profile for Wales internationally, encourage tourism and further benefit Welsh arts and creative industry. Using funding we are now able to set-up an independent charitable arm of Green Man. This will enable us to channel profit from the festival and apply for other funding sources to solidify projects we are currently involved in and develop new ones. We are very grateful that the Assembly Government have this forward thinking policy of supporting success in the creative industries, and believe this it will have far reaching and positive outcomes for both Wales and Green Man."
Events which have received support for the coming years include the Ironman competition in Pembrokeshire which will take place in September 2011 and in 2012 and 2013. It will provide a huge boost for the local tourism industry and provide a high profile platform for encouraging healthier lifestyles. In 2011 both Rugby Union’s Heineken Cup Final and Rugby League’s showpiece ‘Magic Weekend’ are amongst the supported events at the Millennium Stadium. Olympic Football, another historic first comes to Wales and to the Stadium in 2012. There are also ambitions to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2013 and a UEFA Champions League Final. As well as sporting events, the Assembly Government’s Major Events Unit will be supporting a diverse range of cultural events including the Wakestock Festival in Abersoch and the Spirit of Llangollen.