Ian Edwards, chief executive of Celtic Manor Resort, supports the We’re Backing Newport campaign and is enthusiastic about the city’s future

THE 2010 Ryder Cup and then the Nato Wales Summit in 2014 put both Celtic Manor and the City of Newport on the global map.

The eyes of the world really did fall on Newport for those two memorable occasions and it was important to show the watching millions that this venue and this city are more than capable of staging the biggest events.

Now we plan to bring even more of those major events to Newport with the building of the new International Convention Centre Wales.

Celtic Manor is already accustomed to hosting major conferences on a regular basis and we have been voted the UK’s leading hotel for meetings and events for five of the last six years, but the International Convention Centre will be a real game-changer.

It will more than triple our capacity for business events and allow us to host events like political party conferences and conventions for the largest international associations, which we have previously been unable to attract because we don’t have the required space and facilities.

The main auditorium of the new centre will hold 1,500 delegates.

A separate main exhibition hall will stretch to 4,000 square metres of pillar-free space and be able to accommodate up to 2,000 guests for a gala dinner.

The impact of these numbers of visitors will reach far beyond the Celtic Manor Resort.

The research we have carried out before building the new centre suggests it will bring more than 100,000 bedroom nights per year into the local economy.

Celtic Manor is already running at 90 per cent occupancy so we could probably only cater for around 20,000 of those additional nights.

So that means other hotels in Newport and the surrounding area will be picking up 80,000 room nights, not to mention the associated spending in restaurants, shops and attractions.

Studies show that business tourists usually spend three times as much in the local economy as leisure tourists and the large-scale events that the convention centre will attract usually have outreach activities in the local community, or spouse and partner programmes visiting nearby places of interest.

The new convention centre is not the only example of our continued investment in the Celtic Manor business and Newport.

In April we took over the former Hilton Newport Hotel and renamed it the Coldra Court by Celtic Manor, safeguarding around 100 jobs and we have begun an extensive refurbishment programme there, just as we have at the main resort.

We now have close to 1,000 permanent employees and spend more than £30 million every year in the NP postcode area on employee salaries, local contractors, and on food and other supplies from local companies.

As a major employer, we take our training responsibilities seriously and have invested over the past few years in a new Learning and Development department and strengthened our apprenticeship programmes with training companies and local colleges. Our determination to “grow our own” is also reflected in a comprehensive trainee management programme.

We are proud to support community events such as the upcoming Newport Food Festival.

As well as being a sponsor, we have two of our chefs demonstrating and will be helping to judge the TeenChef competition and bring on the next generation.

We are also delighted to support this ‘We’re Backing Newport’ campaign in the South Wales Argus.

The city has a wonderful chance to build on developments like the Friars Walk shopping centre and it is important that we all work together to embrace that opportunity.