The profile of Wales across the world has created a positive impact on its businesses and communities through the promotion of trade and investment, British ambassador Jon Wilks said Saturday.
Speaking at the inaugural “This is Wales” festival, which was launched at LuLu Mall at The Pearl Island’s Giardino, the envoy said that the event is seen to further enhance trade relations between Qatar and the UK, as well as to create opportunities for the people of both countries.
While LuLu Group and the British embassy here regularly celebrate "UK Week" to showcase British products, Wilks said one of the reasons for the “This is Wales” festival is that “there is just so much excellent produce coming out of the country”.
The festival, which concludes Sunday, aims to promote a wide range of Welsh products in Qatar through the LuLu Hypermarket chain as part of the pilot project, “Destination: Middle East”, which is funded by the Welsh government to support in-market retail promotions and on-trade consumer engagement for Welsh food and beverage companies looking to establish a presence in Qatar and the UAE.
According to a statement from LuLu, the Middle East has been a market of interest for several years now following successful food and beverage (F&B) trade development visits to the region.
“Producers have benefited from the support of an in-market brand ambassador, who has been showcasing the quality of the products to a range of chefs and buyers from the food service sector,” the statement noted.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, said: “I am delighted to see so many of our wonderful food and drink producers taking part in ‘Destination: Middle East’, which is taking a new approach to developing export trade and builds on the investment we have made over recent years.”
“The aim of the project is to increase direct consumer engagement and drive greater awareness of Wales and the quality of our food and drink,” she said. “This project has been a collaboration between our offices in the region, our producers and the export cluster, and working with an in-market partner.”
LuLu Hypermarket regional operations manager Simon Alexander said: “We are delighted and honoured to work with the Welsh government to promote Welsh food and drink products to our customers, who are looking for quality and brands they can trust.”
“We have welcomed delegations of Welsh food producers to our flagship stores over the recent years, and look forward to building our relationships with producers so that our customers can buy their favourite Welsh brands in our stores in the future,” he said.
Anglesey Sea Salt – Halen Mon is one of Wales’ leading brands and is participating in “Destination: Middle East”.
“The Welsh government has been outstandingly helpful in supporting Wales’ food and drink exporters,” managing director Alison Lea-Wilson said. “This brand activation campaign in the Middle East is another example of how the Welsh government supports the sector. Without them, we would not be where we are today.”
British ambassador John Wilks speaking at the 'This is Wales' festival Saturday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.