Plaid Cymru’s economy spokesperson has called upon the Welsh Government to declare 2026 the year of Welsh Food and Drink following the successful bid to host “world’s biggest culinary event”.
The call came from the Member of the Senedd for South Wales West during questions to the First Minister in plenary yesterday.
It follows a successful bid made by The Culinary Association of Wales in conjunction with the International Convention Centre Wales to host a world-renowned culinary event that has been dubbed “the world’s biggest culinary event”.
The Worldchefs Congress and Expo 2026 is expected to attract 1,000 and over 5,000 visitors from over 100 countries around the world. The World Association of Chefs’ Societies, otherwise known as Worldchefs, is a global network of 110 chef associations worldwide representing international membership of culinary and hospitality professionals. Wales, one of the smallest country members in Worldchefs, defeated Italy 28-24 in a final vote.
Mr Fletcher lauded the success of the bid which will see this event being brought to Wales, praising the work of the team behind the campaign and acknowledging the opportunity that this presents for the Welsh economy.
Luke Fletcher MS said: “One sector that contributes massively to the Welsh economy is the hospitality sector. Pre-pandemic, the sector across Wales employed directly or indirectly some 174,000 people and added approximately £3.6bn per year to the economy.
“The Worldchefs Congress and Expo coming to Wales presents a fantastic opportunity to welcome thousands of visitors from around the world to sample the best that Welsh food and drink has to offer.
“We must seize this opportunity with both hands – the Welsh Government should do all it can to support the event by declaring 2026 the year of Welsh food and drink, promoting our food and drink sector to the world and, no doubt, in the long-term, improving Wales’s economy.”
Responding to Mr Fletcher, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The Welsh food and drink sector is another great success story of the Welsh economy and the Minister responsible is in active discussions with colleagues in the food and drink sector as to how the Welsh Government can make our contribution to making the very most of the opportunity that that will bring.”
President of the Culinary Association of Wales, Arwyn Watkins OBE said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to host the Worldchefs Congress which will be coming to Wales in 2026 and it is our hope and aspiration that it will inspire future generations to engage and make a contribution to the future of Welsh food and drink in communities across the whole of Wales.
Mr Watkins added: “By using this platform to make food and drink the feature years of 2025 and 2026, it will support our ambition and touch every community.”
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