Construction of the International Convention Centre at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport is to get under way next February, according to chief executive of the Celtic Manor Ian Edwards. He said that clearing work had already begun at the site and that contractors would move in to start construction on 9 February.
Speaking at a business conference in Newport, Edwards said the £100m convention centre would help Wales compete in the international conference business, of which he estimates Wales secures just 1.5% currently. He anticipated the new centre could bring an added benefit of around £70m to South Wales annually.
“The convention centre will cost £100m to build and make happen. It will house a 4,000-seat ballroom which will be the largest, pillar-free ballroom in Europe. It will bring 700 additional underground car parking spaces and be able to cater for 5,000 delegates,” said Edwards.
He expects construction to take two and a half years, with the building phase alone worth £50m to the local economy.
“Once it is open it is expected that the convention centre will bring a £70m economic benefit and 100,000 bedroom nights to the area every year,” the CEO noted.
Edwards added that the project was not just about the Celtic Manor but about the whole of the region.
“We run at 90% occupancy rate already and we can’t accommodate all the bedroom nights needed by the convention centre in our hotel. The delegates will need somewhere to stay.
“It’s about putting Wales and Newport on the world map.”
The new building is due to be completed and ready for opening by June 2019.
Edwards was speaking at the fourth Newport City Summit, held at the University of South Wales’ City Campus.