Conwy council supports plans to host new 'major events'
A series of major events, including international cycling and a music concert, could be hosted in Conwy county under a new proposal.
The council has been approached by the Welsh Government's major events unit to see if it could work to secure high-profile events for north Wales.
A council report said it could be a "catalyst" for growing the economy.
The council supported the plans at a special meeting on Tuesday.
Major events can incur hefty hosting fees, so the Welsh Government is looking to local authorities for financial support.
The council discussed future opportunities, including the option to support only pre-existing commitments, such as the National Armed Forces Day and Eirias Concert, or to grow its programme.
The council report suggested the following hosting fees would apply for the events the WGMEU has proposed:
- International cycling event, 2019: £50,000
- International music concert, date to be confirmed: £100,000
- European cycling event, 2020: £45,000
- Men's world sporting event, 2021: £100,000
The report does also acknowledge there could be concerns around "stretching resources".
Due to the sensitivity of the negotiations with event organisers, WGMEU has requested that the events remain unnamed but said they fit with Conwy's outdoor offer and key venues.
As well as hosting fees, major events like these incur operational costs.
The council's report said funding should prioritise winter events and those that need local authority support to get up and running, as well as those that would bring economic return and a "strong media profile" for the area.
It should also raise the county's national and international profile, act as a platform for regeneration, and provide a cultural and community experience.
The council report highlighted that the events would bring significant visitor numbers to the area.
Labour councillor Ronnie Hughes, who was part of the committee considering the issue, said an expansion would be "good for people of north Wales" and he had "no doubt" about the economic benefits of packed hotels and tourist spending exceeding the event costs.
Conservative councillor Samantha Cotton said she was also "entirely supportive" of the idea of expansion because of its contribution to the economy.
The council report noted "there is always a risk of unexpected costs" but that reducing the events programme "presents the most risks".
It said having no long-term event programme would have a "negative impact on tourism in the county", even if expanding it "may be deemed to be stretching the resources of the council during a time of significant financial challenge".
Tourism is the county's second-largest employment sector.
A study in 2015 showed visitor numbers in Conwy increased to 9.3 million, spend rose by £820m and 12,000 jobs were associated with the tourism sector.