Ian Edwards, CEO ICC Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort
When the ICC Wales opens in the UK in 2019, it will be the culmination of a generation-long process that has seen Wales wake up to its potential as an international business destination. We’re putting in place a facility that the country has long been crying out for. It’s time for Wales.
With the ICC Wales, located in the grounds of the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales will finally have an international convention centre, offering 26,000 sqm of dedicated space, able to host up to 5,000 delegates in a beautiful, easily accessible, location. At last, Wales will stand shoulder to shoulder alongside England and Scotland, as a part of the United Kingdom that’s capable of attracting international event business and delivering the full delegate experience.
A third UK international business hub
There was once a time, not so long ago, that when international events came to the UK, the majority went to London. Then came the SECC in Glasgow (now SEC) and a reinvigorated Scotland awoke to the diverse, high quality experiences it could offer, and a second force for international conference and convention business emerged in the UK.
Delegates warmed to Scotland’s proud history, its culture and traditions, its beautiful open spaces and landscapes, and the passionate national pride of its people. It’s time to tell them that Wales can match all this and offer many unique attractions of its own.
Wales has heritage in abundance. There are more castles in our small country than in any other part of the Kingdom. We have spectacular landscapes and coastlines too – three National Parks and five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty mean you are never far from a breathtaking view in Wales.
Cardiff, the capital city, is now one of Britain’s most exciting cosmopolitan places. Welcoming more than 18 million visitors per year, this international city boasts world-class sporting stadia, art galleries, museums and theatres. By day, shoppers explore Cardiff’s lively city centre of modern malls, pedestrianised streets and vintage arcades to browse an eclectic mix of independent boutiques, high street favourites and leading designer stores. Night-time attracts revellers to Cardiff’s generous offering of traditional pubs, bars, night clubs and restaurants.
And then there’s the Welsh passion. Wales is known as the Land of Song and a rich history of music has found modern expression in the shape of world-famous artists like Tom Jones, Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins. The singing of the national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of our Fathers), can make your hair stand on end at the Principality Stadium when it’s time to indulge that other great national passion – rugby.
In the 21st Century, Wales has re-established itself as a force to be reckoned with on the rugby field and now it’s time to forge a reputation for the country’s many other attributes. In 2019, we gain the means to welcome the largest of international events. With ICC Wales, this proud country can invite the world to experience its splendour. Let’s go.