Foreign Affairs Committee: Riga 2014 will be a splendid opportunity to advertise Latvia


On Wednesday, 2 May, members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima, while meeting with representatives from the Riga 2014 foundation, stressed that when Riga becomes the European capital of culture in 2014, it will be a great opportunity for all of Latvia that our country should take maximum advantage of in order to raise the visibility of Latvia and to attract tourists; moreover, the extensive cultural programme will offer a good preview before Latvia assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) scheduled for the first half of 2015.

“Latvia has not yet organised such a large-scale event as European capital of culture which will be hosted by Riga. Therefore, we must seize this opportunity wisely and efficiently in order to raise the visibility of Riga and Latvia, as well as to generate the maximum economic benefit,” pointed out Ojārs Kalniņš, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

During the meeting, representatives from the Riga 2014 foundation explained that from experience it is known that the economic benefits from becoming a European capital of culture largely depend on the resources that the city or the country is prepared to invest in external communication. After Sergejs Potapkins, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, suggested showing commercials on major international satellite news channels, Diāna Čivle, Director of the Riga 2014 foundation, admitted that because of financial constraints, no resources are allocated for expensive TV commercials.

“Taking into account Latvia’s limited financial resources, we have to make sure that the events of Riga 2014 are so attractive that BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera become interested in sending their correspondents to Riga to prepare their reports,” said Kalniņš. Committee member Jānis Dombrava (National Alliance of All for Latvia! and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) suggested involving Latvians who live abroad in promoting the capital of culture.

Speaking about the link between the events of Riga 2014 and the Latvian EU Presidency in the first half of 2015, Aiva Rozenberga, Programme Director of the Riga 2014 foundation, said that Italy, which will take up the EU Presidency before Latvia in the second half of 2014, has already announced its great interest in cooperating. Latvian art exhibitions will open in Rome in early May, and this cooperation will continue, noted Rozenberga.

As a European capital of culture, Riga will offer a major cultural programme throughout the year, thus enabling volunteers and NGOs to get involved in the project. Organisers want to broaden the concept of culture, without limiting it to art and exhibitions, because each individual in our country is a creative being, and other areas can also be considered as part of culture, said Čivle at the meeting.

Photos from the meeting are available at:
When using the material, please give credit to the Saeima Chancellery.

Saeima Press Service

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