Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 18

Memorandum submitted by the Welsh North American Chamber of Commerce (WNACC)

MY COMMENTS ON THE ROLE OF WELSH PUBLIC BODIES IN THE USA AND CANADA:

1.  WALES TRADE INTERNATIONAL

  Run through the National Assembly of Wales and effectively "a new kid on the block" having only just recently been created. My first impressions are very positive and I think our Chamber can hopefully be of considerable assistance to them. Their apparent role is to help Welsh companies relocate to North America and/or for Wales based companies to sell their products/services in North America. I am also very impressed with Dai Evans (California) and Gus Noble (Chicago) who work for WTI over here. The WNACC has already been able to pass on leads and information to these two gentlemen which they have acted on very promptly.

2.  WELSH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

  The WNACC has fairly strong links with the individual WDA representatives scattered around North America in about 8-10 offices. Their focus is on foreign direct inward investment to Wales and by that standard the WDA has been very successful. They do not seem to promote themselves in the general business community like they could, many of the WNACC members were very surprised to hear that the WDA actually had offices in North America ! (this is coming from WNACC members who have lived here for 20 plus years, often in the same city as a WDA office !). I think the WDA representatives would generally be a lot more supportive of the WNACC if it were not for the newly created Wales North America Business Council (WNABC), an offshoot of the WDA in Wales, and some of the political problems the WNACC has had with the WDA in Cardiff.

3.  WALES TOURIST BOARD

  The WTB have ONE person in the USA and Canada to promote Wales in an area 922 times the size of Wales ! Their budget is minimal ($300,000 approx) and they do a great job with what they have financially to work with B which is a laughably small amount considering the size of North America. Their lone representative is Raymond Mathias in New York City who is also a board member of the WNACC and is a fine ambassador for Wales B the problem is we need 5-10 more Raymond Mathias' ! It is a shame that the WTB do not have half the financial resources that the WDA has in the USA and Canada. I have never come across a paid ad in a tourism magazine promoting Wales in 20 years and rarely see an article on Wales in any newspaper (the WNACC is about to start a program to be help the WTB in using its members to place ads in local/regional newspapers very shortly). The problem is a complete lack of financial resources, the problem is compounded as the Irish and Scots appear to have an unlimited financial budget to promote their respective countries. Wales is NOT a "sexy" place to visit or to claim one's heritage from at the present time for most Americans and Canadians—this needs to change, and soon.

  These are my views and not the views of the WNACC. I hope that I have been of some assistance to you.

Dr. David R. Williams,

President

18 October 2000





 
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