Over 100 of Leeds’ top business professionals and achievers descended on Leeds Bradford Airport early this morning for the city’s most significant overseas marketing mission to date.
By 11.30am local time the delegation will disembark in top European business destination Barcelona to demonstrate Leeds’ commercial and cultural excellence, share best practice and do business.
“As the largest business and financial destination as well as the most important legal centre outside of London, Leeds already competes on an international platform but it won’t rest on its laurels, “said Deborah Green, chief executive of Marketing Leeds which has organised the trip jointly with the UK Trade and Investment Yorkshire and The Humber. “We are bringing teams from our core strength sectors to interact directly with our Catalan counterparts and bring business opportunities home.”
Leeds in Barcelona is a festival of commerce and culture that aims to increase the profile of Leeds in Barcelona and wider Catalonia. The mission aims to forge long term business trade links between the two cities and contribute to the continued economic prosperity for them both.
The event aims to bring a taste of a vibrant city – both its cultural and commercial strengths. It will be the focus for key delegations from the legal, financial, property, innovation and enterprise, public, leisure and tourism, creative and media sectors as well as a 16 strong general business delegation with the UKTI. Each of these delegations will deliver bespoke presentations and workshops as well as embark on fact finding missions to learn from Barcelona’s achievements and practices. The emphasis will be on sharing best practice and learning from one another’s experiences, thereby creating an opportunity to forge lasting, sustainable relationships.
The Live from Leeds performance, at the very heart of the festival programme, aims to highlight the rich artistic vein which runs through our city; the only city outside London with its own opera and ballet company by showcasing the work of Northern Ballet Theatre, Opera North and Phoenix Dance Theatre in a World Premier performance.
Programme highlights include: an International Business Network (IBN) speaker event with Sir John Sorrell hosted by the UKTI; Leeds Legal will commemorate its third visit with a formal signing of a commitment for future cooperation with its Catalan equivalent, lustreCol Legi D’Advocats De Barcelona (ICAB); Financial Leeds will promote its expertise in stock market trading and alternative financing; Creative Leeds will communicate why Leeds in the UK fastest growing sector for creative and digital industries; Leeds Public Private Partnerships Unit will link with the property sector to talk about best practice and share its expertise in areas such as waste management, low carbon housing, planning for sustainable communities and financing; Leeds Hotel Association has scheduled a series of meetings to forge relationships with tour operators and conference buyers; and the Innovation and Enterprise Office at the University of Leeds will communicate the methodology and systems for effective engagement with industries to support innovation.
With a major marketing drive to communicate the campaign in the UK including coverage in The Guardian and Financial Times, Marketing Leeds has also forged strong partnerships in Catalonia. It will have a major 20 page supplement promoting Leeds business and leisure proposition in La Vanguardia, the highest circulation newspaper in Catalonia and fourth most read in Spain. A series of interviews will take place with Catalonian business media throughout and a dedicated bloggers event is scheduled within the programme. Combined with a comprehensive online social media campaign this marketing investment is expected to deliver substantial awareness and return.
The Leeds delegation is to be welcomed with a civic reception and formal address from The Mayor of Barcelona.
In a recent visit to Leeds to brief the delegation, Martyn Warr, Consul General for Iberia said, “There are great similarities between Leeds and Barcelona – both are recognised as major business hubs for their respective countries and we can certainly learn much from each other. We have committed to a long term relationship and are delivering an appropriate business audience in Barcelona for the Leeds delegation to achieve successful business exchange.”