With other regions in the UK well established as key players in hosting international conferences, Wales felt it was time to claim a spot on the meetings industry map. The construction of a large scale convention centre in the region already attracts a lot of attention from the global association market. Words Vicky Koffa
As soon as the decision for the location of the first ever International Convention Centre for Wales was made, building work began on the site in June 2017. The grounds of the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport offered an easily accessible site for the new Centre as it is adjacent to the M4 and just over two hours from London and close to Newport’s main line train station as well as the international airports at Cardiff and Bristol. Due for completion in June 2019, ICC Wales will provide a variety of facilities, such as total floor space for meetings, conferences, exhibitions and events of 26.000sqm, including a 4.000sqm pillar-free main hall, a 1.500 seated auditorium, 12 flexible meeting rooms, a double-height glass atrium and a 2.500sqm outdoor plaza for outside events and teambuilding.
With important universities covering all fields from Art to Medicine, such as the Bangor University and the Cardiff University, and high quality hospitals and research facilities, ICC Wales is eager to attract major international conferences in line with the knowledge opportunities the city has to offer.
Ian Edwards, Chief Executive of ICC Wales commented: “The hosting of large events like the 2014 NATO Summit or the Ryder Cup in 2010 showed that Wales has an appetite to be a contender in the meetings industry. With the building of ICC Wales, which will open in 2019, we will be able to accommodate large-scale conferences for up to 5,000 delegates, which we simply couldn’t do before. That way, the ICC will compete with leading venues around the world and, crucially, for the first time, position Wales as a leading business tourism destination, complete with prestigious universities, amazing hospitals and altogether some high-level knowledge you can’t find anywhere else.”
A joint venture between the owners of the Celtic Manor Resort and Welsh Government, it is managed by Celtic Manor’s leadership team and has already two large scale conferences booked at the venue – Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference in March 2020 and the venue’s inaugural event – The Hospitality and Catering Expo in July 2019. Led by Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Alzheimer’s two-day annual conference will feature presentations from researchers and clinicians as well as opportunities to network and forge collaborations.