ICC Wales pulled out all the stops this week for a specially selected group of UK Association conference managers who formed the first ever official familiarisation trip to the venue, due to open in 2019.
Billed as an experience of “24 fabulous hours of building brilliance”, the itinerary included a sumptuous dinner on the evening of arrival, the chance to make personalised traditional Welsh cakes with the team behind ICC Wales’s emerging food and beverage offer, and a master class in singing, inspired by Wales’s worldwide reputation as the land of song.
One of the event highlights was a unique opportunity to enjoy samples of the ICC Wales “Mind, Body and Soul” culinary offering whilst sitting in a specially-constructed temporary marquee right in the middle of the building site for the venue which is on track and on time to open in two years’ time.
Delegates were taken through the detailed plans for ICC Wales at the newly opened marketing suite for the venue, which also offers a bird’s eye view of the construction site as the new building begins to emerge from its spectacular setting among acres of natural woodland on the outskirts of Newport. ICC Wales will provide total floor space for meetings, conferences, exhibitions and events of 26,000sqm – the equivalent size to nearly four international rugby pitches.
Ian Edwards, CEO, ICC Wales and the Celtic Manor Resort, commented:
“It was wonderful to be able to share our plans for ICC Wales with some of the UK’s key Associations. We were keen for them to see the site, how far we’ve come already and to showcase our vision for an amazing future. Demonstrating the friendliness and impact of a warm Welsh welcome was also important to us. We have a unique appeal as a conference centre, not just as a highly qualified event management team looking after a state-of-the-art purpose-built venue, but also as a destination that offers real warmth, pride and hospitality.”
Jane Elsom, Research Project Manager for Alzheimers Research UK, said: “It was fascinating to see the site and the vision for what will no doubt be a major new addition to the UK conference and events scene. Wales is long overdue a purpose-built conference centre of this size and scale. It’s in a great location and easily accessible from all over the country which makes a big difference in how delegates perceive a conference venue. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition and excited for Wales more widely – ICC Wales will be a tremendous boost to bringing even more business events to the country.”
An £83.7m joint venture between Celtic Manor and Welsh Government, ICC Wales is now established as a separate company. It will accommodate 5,000 delegates and includes a 4,000sqm pillar-free main hall, a 1,500-seated auditorium, 12 flexible meeting rooms, a double-height glass atrium and a 2,500 sqm outdoor plaza.