TWO council leaders will head to the south of France to promote projects being taken forward by the Swansea Bay City Region.

Swansea’s Rob Stewart and Carmarthenshire’s Emlyn Dole will mingle with investors and developers at the four-day event in March in a bid to secure backing for 11 projects worth £1.3bn.

The annual gathering in Cannes attracts more than 20,000 people.

The ruling body of the city region – the joint committee – approved a £10,000 spend on the Cannes trip at a meeting on January 28.

Cllr Stewart, who also chairs the joint committee, said: “It’s the place you need to be if you want to secure serious investment in your area.”

The £10,000 sum will fund two delegate passes, which are more than £1,000 each, plus other benefits such as exhibition and advertising space, and representation at one of the key events.

Flights and accommodation will be covered separately by Swansea and Carmarthenshire councils.

Also attending will be a delegation from the Cardiff Capital Region, which will set out projects of its own.

Cllr Stewart is no stranger to the Cannes investor gathering – he attended in 2019 with fellow cabinet member, Councillor Robert Francis-Davies, and two council officers.

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The delegation, which flew on a low-cost airline, touted a city centre regeneration scheme called Swansea Central phase two as part of an investment portfolio which was being promoted by the UK Government.

Swansea Central phase two will follow the indoor arena development, and will ideally be funded by the private sector as much as possible. The planned development between St Mary’s Church and St David’s multi-storey car park proposes a cinema, restaurants, shops, 100-plus apartments and a large public sector office hub.

Asked if the 2019 trip, which also cost around £10,000, had been a success, a council spokesman said many new contacts had been made.

“A number of investors have since visited Swansea to have commercially confidential discussions on specific opportunities and wide discussions on how we can work together,” he said.

“A number of key announcements are due in the coming months.”

The spokesman added: “We plan to cast the net further for credible companies by launching a global marketing exercise shortly for key city centre sites.

“The aim is to attract £70m of private investment to help deliver the expansive Swansea Central phase two project and investment in other city sites.”

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