Construction work on the £84m International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), which has already signed up its first conference, will be officially marked at a ceremony next week.
Although preparatory work is under way on the project, that will bring conferences from around the world to south Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, an official ground breaking day, alongside a gala dinner, will be staged on June 23.
ICC Wales is being financed with repayable finance from the Welsh Government and NatWest Bank.
It is being delivered and managed via a new joint venture company in which the Celtic Manor Resort and the Welsh Government have an equal 50% stake.
ICC Wales is scheduled for complete in 2019.
And it has already secured its first event with the Hospitality Catering Expo in July, 2019. Next year’s event will be staged at the Celtic Manor Resort, which will be directly linked to ICC Wales.
The project had a working title of the Wales International Convention Centre. However, it was felt that ICC Wales was more in keeping with other convention centres, such as ICC Edinburgh and ICC Birmingham.
The facility, which is projected to have an economic impact for the wide city region of £70m a year, will include and provide:
- 26,000 square metres of floor space.
- A 1,500 seat auditorium.
- Be able to accommodate 5,000 conference delegates.
- A separate exhibition hall providing the largest pillar-free ballroom in Europe, capable of hosting a gala dinner for 2,400 people.
- Five divisible meeting rooms that will create a further 12 flexible spaces.
- Breakouts at all levels to outdoor networking spaces.
- Sate-of-the-art technology with fully integrated audio visual facilities.
- 2,500 sq mt plaza that will welcome visitors and provide additional networking and exhibition space.
- 700 underground car parking spaces with direct access to the ICC Wales.
And ICC Wales will be showcasing its plans at the Meetings Show at London’s Olympia from 13-15 June.
The Meetings Show is the premier event for the UK inbound, outbound and domestic meetings industry and this is the first time ICC Wales has formally exhibited its facilities at this or any other show.
Together with partners from Visit Wales and the Celtic Manor Resort, ICC Wales will be vying with 700 other exhibiting companies for the attention of 3,000 meeting and event planners who attend the show from all over the world.
And ICC Wales has also welcomed a new approach to attracting business events to Wales from the Welsh Government.
The pan-Wales initiative will include a small dedicated team aiming to attract events aligned with Wales’s key sectors and growth regions.
The initiative intends to spread the impact of business events across Wales’s economy, whilst also benefiting from the momentum provided by ICC Wales.
Ian Edwards, chief executive of the ICC Wales and the Celtic Manor Resort, said: “I’m delighted that the Welsh Government is backing business events for Wales so significantly.
“There’s real drive, enthusiasm and confidence emerging in the region for hosting events, with ICC Wales at the heart of that ambition.
“We look forward to our continued partnership with government and congratulate everyone involved in putting Wales front and centre of the global business events stage”.