AN army of volunteers will showcase the best of Liverpool and ensure a warm welcome for tens of thousands of delegates attending the International Festival for Business 2016. Around 50 volunteers from all over the city will spend the three weeks of the festival meeting and greeting international delegations and business people from the UK to show them the best of the city and the festival. The volunteers came together with Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Ann O’Byrne, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision and IFB2016 Chairman Max Steinberg CBE, Estate Director at Liverpool ONE Chris Bliss and IFB2016 Festival Director Ian McCarthy at a special event at the Cunard Building ahead of IFB2016’s launch on Monday, June 13. More than 300 international businesses bringing thousands of delegates from around the world – including China, USA and Malaysia – will arrive in the city for the major event in the global trade calendar. In total, some 30,000 delegates are expected to visit over three weeks in June and 100 volunteers have been selected to ensure the visitors receive a first-class welcome and experience true Liverpudlian hospitality during their time in the city. The international delegations are travelling more than one million miles to do business with UK SMEs from Europe, USA, China, India, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The volunteers have been recruited from City Stars, a Liverpool initiative, managed by Liverpool ONE on behalf of the city council. There are also a number of volunteers from the IFB2016 Youth Programme coming from the Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Service (LCVS), the festival’s philanthropic partner, and local universities. Meet and Greet teams will be placed at key arrival points in the city, Lime Street and Liverpool John Lennon Airport, and there will be a host of volunteers dotted along the key walking routes to Exhibition Centre Liverpool to help direct delegates along their way. The IFB2016 Volunteer delivery team have worked closely with Merseytravel in order to secure free travel across the city for all volunteers as well as a central hub for all volunteers to work from. Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Ann O’Byrne said: “First impressions count and the army of volunteers that are supporting IFB2016 will show the visitors to the festival all that is best about Liverpool. “The international delegations and businesses from all over the UK will experience our city and learn why it is one of the friendliest in the world. “We’re delighted that these special people have volunteered their time to support our wonderful city.” Festival Director Ian McCarthy said: “The International Festival for Business is not just an important event for SMEs, entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Liverpool City Region and beyond, but for everyone who calls the city home. “Our volunteers have graciously given their time to Liverpool and IFB2016, and they have an important responsibility to ensure that our visitors have a fantastic time in this brilliant city. I know they are really looking forward to giving a great Liverpool welcome, which is testament to this great city and the calibre of its people.” IFB2016 will adopt three themes for the weeks it takes over the city. The first will focus on Manufacturing, the second will explore Energy and Environment and the third will delve in to the Creative and Digital realm. In 2014, the festival boosted the Liverpool City Region economy by £14 million and £280m worth of investment and trade deals were made. Those figures are expected to be dwarfed by the success of this year’s event. IFB2016 is being delivered in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, the GREAT Britain Campaign and with the support of the UK Government. Chris Bliss, Estate Director at Liverpool ONE, said: “City Stars were the driving force behind the fantastic image IFB2014 gave to world businesses. “This year, I am thrilled the City Stars have been selected once again to be the volunteers who meet and greet the thousands of international visitors coming to Liverpool. “I am sure the delegates will be enthralled by what the festival, our world class shopping destination and our city has to offer.” Visit www.ifb2016.com/ifb-business-club to sign up to the IFB2016 Business Club. Follow on Twitter and watch the IFB2016 video .