With just over a year to go until it opens, Newport's ICC Wales hosted its first all-inclusive familiarisation trip for a specially selected group of professional conference organisers, association conference managers and agents at the under-construction venue.

Billed as a ‘taste of brilliance’, the itinerary included dinner on the evening of arrival at sister venue Celtic Manor, a visit to the ICC Wales sensory sales suite and a special lunch in a marquee erected in the construction site.

Lunch was served from ‘chefspiration stations’ where delegates could sample some of the innovative and healthy food options prepared under the culinary philosophy of 'Mind, Body and Soul' which will drive the culinary offer at ICC Wales.

Delegates also practised their own culinary skills thanks to a cooking lesson on the art of making Welsh cakes and finished off their authentic Welsh experience with an opportunity for even the most nervous of singers to join in a spot of group choir singing, right down to two part harmonies.

Event planners also visited Coldra Court Hotel, which is part of the Celtic Manor Collection and situated in close proximity to the site of the new convention centre.

Ian Edwards, CEO, ICC Wales and the Celtic Manor Resort, said: “We were delighted to share the progress of the ICC Wales build with so many key event organisers.

"With just over a year to go until the venue officially opens in its wonderful woodland location, it was fantastic to be able to show them a building which is progressing fast and illustrate how our offering is developing, in particular in relation to our fantastic food and beverage team.”

Stephanie Grant, head of conferences and project support at UNISON, said: “It’s been an amazing 24 hours of great food and good company and the team here have been really, really welcoming.

"We’ve enjoyed a wonderful flavour of what’s to come and ICC Wales looks like it’s going to be a great venue. What’s really impressed me is the flexibility that has been built into this convention centre.

"It’s not only geared up for big exhibitions, the number of meeting rooms and the combinations that can be made with them looks really versatile for all types of events.”

Clinton Lloyd, meetings secretary at the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland, said: “It’s been a very informative and very helpful site visit and the animation in the 3D virtual walkaround was superb, giving us a real visualisation of what the final venue will look like.

"The location of ICC Wales is a major attraction for us with it being so central and enjoying ease of travel and access from the majority of the UK and Ireland. It’s also really important for us that we can accommodate all our delegates close by and there seems to be a fantastic array of hotels and accommodation around this venue.”

An £83.7m joint venture between Celtic Manor Resort and Welsh Government, when finished ICC Wales will accommodate 5,000 delegates and includes a 4,000sqm pillar-free main hall, a 1,500-seated auditorium, 12 flexible meeting rooms, a double-height glass atrium and a 2,500 sqm outdoor plaza.