Cardiff: The Ryder Cup effect

The Welsh capital's C&I standing has soared after hosting major sporting events

At 3.20pm on 4 October 2010, the eyes of the sporting world were trained on the 17th green at Celtic Manor Resort. One missed American putt later, the local celebrations started in earnest. It was the culmination of a series of events that saw Europe regain the Ryder Cup and nearby Cardiff count its blessings - again.

Sport has been kind to the reputation of the Welsh capital. Since successfully hosting six FA Cup Finals last decade, Cardiff has also staged an Ashes test, World Cup rugby and been confirmed as the venue for several Olympic football matches in 2012.

C&I visitors

The combination of increased media coverage and improved visitor infrastructure has had a tangible influence, not just on the city's overall visitor numbers (up 40 per cent on ten years ago), but on its C&I profile. A comprehensive 2010 survey suggested the city is now the seventh most popular in the UK for meetings, conferences and business events, behind only the established big hitters.

Rolex, BMW, Citibank, Emirates

The tournament itself attracted corporate activity from the likes of Emirates, Citibank, BMW and Rolex, and also proved good news for Cardiff event agencies such as the newly-formed Orchard, which was hired by the Welsh Assembly Government to stage two tournament-related gala dinners in the city.

"Being associated with something like this was a huge testimonial for Cardiff as a region and for us as a business," says Orchard chief executive Wyn Innes.

Cardiff & Co

Hywel Thomas, PR manager at Cardiff & Co, parent body of the city's convention bureau, says because the majority of Ryder Cup visitors stayed in Cardiff, the "increased exposure reflected positively on the city". He says: "Events like this always have a knock-on effect on business and investment. We're fortunate."

In the coming year the bureau will continue to focus on attracting big events. An initiative called The Cardiff Commitment has been introduced through which hoteliers agree to set aside a percentage of the city's rooms at a reasonable rate. Major happenings in the near future include the Inner Wheel Conference in April and the British Medical Conference in June.

New developments

Developments continue apace. Freshly opened is the £20m Cardiff School of Management building, part of the University of Wales Institute and offering space for 200 in its largest lecture theatre. Even more notable is the £22.5m Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, opening in the spring with a 450-seat main hall.

Cardiff's hotel offering has been bolstered by the 2009 arrival of the Radisson Blu, and is gearing up for the 2011 inauguration of the four-star, 216-room Maldron Hotel (pictured), the first in the UK. Meanwhile, the city's incentive offering is further strengthened by the International White Water Rafting Centre, which opened in March 2010.

Directory
Cardiff & Co
Contact: Cheryl Walker
Tel: 02920 871846
Email: convention@cardiffandco.com
Web: www.cardiffandco.com

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