an OFFICIAL delegation to a conference in Cannes was worth the cost and will bring business benefits to the Leeds city region, it has been claimed.
The team of decision-makers from the private and public sector in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield flew to France for the four-day MIPIM 2011 event last month.
But delegations from the UK have been criticised for spending money at a time of cutbacks.
The Leeds city region delegation was headed by Neil McLean, chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership which includes 11 local authorities.
Mr McLean has told the YEP that the work done by the delegation will reap rewards for the area. He could not say what the cost of the delegation visit was.
He said: “We want to get more publicity for the strength of the region and the opportunities within the region for development and investment with other cities around the world.
“The key objective to be at MIPIM was to start doing that more than has perhaps been the case in the past.”
Mr McLean said MIPIM attracted 18,500 visitors from around the world and was an important event to attend to publicise the region to would-be foreign investors.
He said: “MIPIM is one of few global conferences where we have a presence from key visitors from around the world.
“To get the level of contacts that we had we can only do that at that sort of event.
“The private sector people there regarded the visit as a considerable success and value for money.
“People have got to realise we are in a global economy world now and we have got to be able to compete on the world stage.”
Mr McLean said the Leeds delegation stayed in shared accommodation while in Cannes and flew there on low cost airlines.
He said that whilst there he undertook presentations, round table events and a Mayor’s Thinktank on development issues and that a stall by the city region was popular.
He said: “In terms of interest in the city region and people asking for information, there has been very very substantial interest.”