Construction on the a new major convention centre in Wales will start in March, the Celtic Manor Resort and Welsh Government have confirmed.
The International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), which will be managed by a 50-50 venture between the Newport hotel and Welsh Government, is expected to generate an extra £70 million for the city region.
The facility, which will be capable of hosting a total of 5,000 delegates, is expected to open its doors in June 2019.
Celtic Manor Resort chairman, Sir Terry Matthews, said the new facility, which will feature the largest pillar-free ballroom in Europe and a 1,500 seat auditorium, will see the end of the Celitc Manor turning down millions of pounds worth of business.
He said: “International Convention Centre Wales has been many years in the planning and I am delighted that we are now in a position to build and deliver this facility that will be such an asset to Wales.
“The Celtic Manor Resort has already established a reputation as the UK’s number one conference hotel, but this new centre will be a real game-changer.
“In the past, we’ve been forced to turn away hundreds of millions of pounds of business because we did not have the capacity to hold the largest conferences. Not any longer.”
Sir Terry added: “This facility will allow us to attract the biggest and most lucrative business events to Wales, as well as high-profile summits and party political conferences.
“ICC Wales will rival any convention facility in Europe and will act as a magnet for major events, bringing huge benefits to the Welsh economy.”
ICC Wales will be funded through repayable commercial loans from Welsh Government and a £51.1m loan facility from NatWest.
Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: “This will be a major asset for Wales, enabling us to compete with any venue in the UK and indeed Europe to attract and host key events that make a huge contribution to the economy.
“It is also important to emphasise that not only is it an asset for the Celtic Manor and Newport specifically, but this development will provide a very real long-term boost for the entire economy of South Wales.
“It will create direct and indirect jobs during the construction and operational phases, provide new business opportunities for a wide range of supply chain companies and deliver extensive knock on benefits for tourism throughout the region.
“It will place Wales firmly at the forefront of business tourism destinations and I am delighted it is being delivered in partnership with the Welsh Government.”