On March 1, St. David’s Day, cities from New York to London toasted Wales with a celebration of cuisine and culture. Tying into the feast day of Wales’ patron saint, these pop-up events played a role in the campaign designed to promote a business meetings boom for Wales this year.
“St. David’s Day was an unmissable day for Wales,” said Heledd Williams, head of business events for Visit Wales. “There were celebrations across the country for the special day, and worldwide we saw one our largest pushes to promote Wales as a business events destination.”
One highlight took place in New York City, where the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama hosted a gala dinner for North American buyers that paid tribute to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in an evening of Welsh and American music and drama performances.
In the U.K., meanwhile, the day coincided with Wales Week in London (23 Feb. to 9 March), a more than weeklong programme of activities and events centred on all things Welsh, from contemporary art exhibits to masterclass Welsh food pairings. Aston Martin even debuted a test model of its first SUV, which will be built at its new Welsh base in St. Athan. Speakers from NatWest (a bank in the U.K.), Cardiff law firm Darwin Gray, and Business Wales also were featured at an event titled “Bringing your business to Wales” at the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub.
“The campaign was intended to show what makes Wales an agile and innovative destination for business events through its exceptional economic sectors, versatile meetings and events spaces, and experiences and activities,” Williams said. With this year being flagged as the “Year of Discovery for Wales,” the St. David’s Day global business events push “was a great opportunity to introduce what Wales has to offer to an international audience,” she said.
The campaign is just phase one of promoting the destination and getting planners — and their clients — excited about the business and cultural offerings Wales has to offer. The ceremonial day marked the debut of the Cardiff Business Events Partnership (CBEP), which promotes Cardiff as not only the capital of Wales, but also an events capital, reinforced by the opening of the ICC Wales later this year. ICC Wales Chief Executive Ian Edwards told Business New Wales: “This is a fantastic platform for us, along with Welsh Government Business Events, to ride the wave of Welsh enthusiasm and show the industry just what our country can do when it comes to organising events.”