Welcoming the World to Wales
What a week! After two and a half years of construction and many, many more years in the planning, International Convention Centre Wales has finally opened its doors to welcome the world to Wales.
After an incredible team effort, we welcomed our first event to ICC Wales last Sunday when the Association of Stoma Care Nurses checked in for their three-day annual conference.
This was swiftly followed by a gala dinner for 1,200 people enjoying An Experience With Arnold Schwarzenegger. I haven’t heard what Arnie himself thought of the venue but every visitor I have spoken to during this busy first week has given us the resounding endorsement: “I’ll be back!”
After talking about this world-class facility for so long, it has been exciting to see the convention centre in action and delegates filling the main hall and the meeting spaces.
This week will see another big step forward for ICC Wales as we welcome our biggest event to date and open the doors of the 1,500-seat auditorium to the UK Space Conference 2019.
More events are coming thick and fast and there is barely a day when the convention centre does not welcome clients and delegates during its first two months of opening, so we have really hit the ground running.
I am sure the business already on our books is only going to snowball now that people are able to see for themselves the reality of how fantastic the facilities are. It is one thing talking about a 4,000 square metre pillar-free exhibition hall with natural daylight, it is quite another thing to stand in it and see more than 1,200 people sit down for dinner.
As always happens on a building project of this magnitude, it required a supreme team effort to ensure ICC Wales opened to rave reviews this week. Our amazing estates team worked wonders for weeks to ensure the outside surroundings matched the quality of the interior finish, while managers and staff from across the Celtic Manor Resort and ICC Wales businesses moonlighted as cleaners, porters and unpackers to help put the finishing touches on this amazing venue.
It was a fantastic display of team spirit and it was amazing to see the pride shared by all our team in opening this new venue, which is going to have such a huge impact not just here at Celtic Manor and the surrounding area but across the whole of Wales.
We also have an extended team of stakeholders to thank for helping make this vision a brilliant reality – in particular Welsh Government, our joint venture partner in the construction and now the operation of ICC Wales.
From the outset, Welsh Government has shared our vision about what a game-changing venue this will be for Wales. As well as bringing in a projected £70m per annum to the Welsh economy, ICC Wales will put the whole country on the map as a destination for business events and the blue chip companies, business leaders and international organisations that visit will bring with them opportunities for inward investment.
Opening the doors to ICC Wales is a major milestone but this is just the start of a very exciting journey as we look forward to welcoming the world to Wales.