Nearly £50,000 was spent flying out ten high-ranking councillors and chief executives from south east Wales to a four-day business conference in the French Riviera.
Representatives of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal attended the Marche International des Professionals d’Immobilier (MIPIM) in March to promote the £1.2 billion venture.
Flights, accommodation and transport costs totalled £17,586 for the trip to the renowned event in Cannes, which was attended by more than 26,000 investors, developers and journalists from around the world.
The delegation included council leaders and chief executives of Caerphilly and Monmouthshire councils, as well as neighbouring CCR authorities.
Another £30,538 was spent on conference passes, an event stand, meetings, marketing materials and a debrief dinner.
A breakdown of costs per attendee is as follows:
- Cllr Dave Poole, leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council – £1,855.94
- Christina Harrhy, interim chief executive of Caerphilly County Borough Council – £1,855.94
- Cllr Peter Fox, leader of Monmouthshire council – £1,855.94
- Paul Matthews, chief executive of Monmouthshire council – £1,855.94
- Cllr Andrew Morgan, leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf council – £1,855.94
- Cllr Huw David, leader of Bridgend council – £1,829.54
- Frank Holmes, chair of the CCR Economic Growth Partnership – £1,829.54
- Kellie Beirne, CCR director – £1,579.68
- Two CCR council officers – £3,067.68
In a report discussed by CCR leaders on June 10, director Kellie Beirne said the presence showed that the region was “in the game and invested in developing its international presence”.
“A range of high-potential contacts and new high-value networks were formed,” reads the report.
“Whilst CCR was never going to leave MIPIM with a done deal, the potential for future collaboration and investment opportunities clearly exists.
“In this case, it was about establishing reciprocity, interest, creating buzz, connecting on a personal level and beginning to set out purpose and intent.”
Other activities conducted by delegates included the launch of an industrial growth plan and taking part in debates alongside chief executives of Edinburgh and Belfast councils.
There are now plans to attend the MIPIM Cannes event in 2020, though Ms Beirne has suggested that the branding of the region should be strengthened.
Each of the 10 authorities aligned to the CCR will again put £50,000 towards funding preparations for next year’s event.
It is also proposed that individual organisations and attendees should cover travel and accommodation costs next year.
Neil Brierley, who led the MIPIM trip as chair of the CCR Business Council, said: “MIPIM is the ideaI opportunity to showcase the city region and ensure the CCR shines brightly in the European investment market.
“We consider the 2019 event a major success, and a springboard for MIPIM 2020.”