South East Wales

Celtic Manor unveils international convention centre plan

Celtic Manor Resort, Newport
Image caption The Celtic Manor Resort has been forced to turn business away, says Sir Terry Matthews

Plans for an international convention centre to be built at the Celtic Manor near Newport have been unveiled.

The centre will be paid for by owner, billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, at the hotel complex which has hosted golf's Ryder Cup and is to be the venue for next year's Nato summit.

The Welsh government is match funding the project's initial stage.

It is hoped the facility will allow Wales to compete with destinations like Liverpool, Dublin and Edinburgh.

It approved, it will be the biggest in Wales and south west England.

The Welsh government 's 2013 tourism strategy identified that the country is under performing in attracting sufficient volume and value in the meetings, conferences and events market.

The proposed convention centre would include a state-of-the-art auditorium and exhibition hall and would be fully integrated with the hotel's existing conference centre.

'Global spotlight'

The Welsh government will provide match funding for the initial stage to help fund an application for outline planning consent next year.

Earlier this month David Cameron announced that the Celtic Manor Resort is to host next September's Nato summit.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: "The Celtic Manor is already a world-class facility, hosting the Ryder Cup for Wales in 2010 and will be in the global spotlight again as it prepares for the first Nato summit to be hosted in the UK since 1990.

Turn away events

"The proposed Wales International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor would be able to compete on size and quality with any other comparable venue across the border, attracting more business and business people, including international delegates, to the South East Wales City Region area and help drive growth in the Welsh economy."

Sir Terry added: "We've made no secret of our desire to expand our successful business at The Celtic Manor and build on our status as the best conference hotel in the UK.

"The Celtic Manor has been voted No 1 for five years running but, at the moment, we're in a position where we have to turn away business because we do not have the capacity to satisfy certain events.

"Turning away business is not something I am in the habit of doing.

"Development of this convention centre will ensure that we attract significant new business to Wales. It will rival any convention facility in Europe and act as a magnet for major events, bringing huge benefits to the Welsh economy."

Separately, Cardiff Council has asked developers to come forward with ideas for an international convention and exhibition centre for the city.

The city's lack of a convention centre was "a major structural economic weakness" according to council leaders.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites