THE first event to be held at the new International Convention Centre at Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort, which will open in 2019, has been announced.

The Hospitality and Catering EXPO will be held at the new £100 million centre, which is partly funded by the Welsh Government in July 2019.

The two-day conference and exhibition will bring together industry professionals and suppliers together from across the UK to provide exhibitions stands, masterclasses, product demonstrations and roundtable discussions.

Celtic Manor chief executive Ian Edwards said he was “thrilled” by the announcement.

“It’s fantastic news for Wales that we have secured such an important piece of business so far in advance of our opening,” he said.

“Event organisers can be confident in the ability of our experienced team which is leading the charge for business events in Wales and I have absolutely no doubts that many more events will be firmed up in the coming months.”

The event’s organiser Denis Sheehan said: “Following an intensive review of industry conferences and events in the UK hospitality and catering sector, we chose Wales and the Celtic Manor to launch a new event for our industry.

“The food and drink sector in Wales employs 223,000 people and contributes £17 billion a year to the UK economy.

“Yet, unlike England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales does not currently have an event that brings together the many sectors of our industry.

“The Hospitality and Catering EXPO will change that.

“The International Convention Centre Wales demonstrates the vision and confidence Wales exudes and as such we are rightly proud to partner with ICC Wales and the Celtic Manor Resort in launching The Hospitality and Catering EXPO.”

The new 26,000 sq m venue will accommodate 5,000 delegates and will include a 4,000 sq m main hall, a 1,500-seat auditorium and 12 meeting rooms.

The expo will also be held at the Celtic Manor in July next year.

In March the resort was named the best hotel in the UK for the sixth time in seven years.