NatWest CEO Ross McEwan has hailed the importance of the International Convention Centre Wales to the region’s economy, describing it as a venue which can attract business events from across the globe.

Ross made the comments on a visit to Newport where he saw the progress being made at the Celtic Manor Resort development, which is scheduled to open in July 2019.

He was accompanied on the tour by Simon Gibson, CEO of Wesley Glover, and ICC Wales vice presidents Mark Colcomb and Russell Phillips.

NatWest Cymru has provided a £51.5m loan facility to the joint venture company constructing and managing the new convention centre as a 50/50 partnership between the Welsh Government and Celtic Manor Resort.

Ross said the bank’s support of the project mirrored that of its wider commitment to Wales supporting start-ups, SMEs and corporate businesses.

“Since the launch of the ICC Wales project I have been continually impressed by the team and its vision for the centre,” said Ross.

“It is a hugely impressive facility and one that possesses all the attributes needed to become a global success and attract international business events and conventions.

“NatWest Cymru has been very proud to support such an important project for the Welsh economy and we are working hard to ensure we help more businesses here so that they are able to grow and achieve more success.”

Sir Terry Matthews, Celtic Manor Resort chairman, said: “We were delighted to welcome Ross to see first-hand the exciting progress being made in the development of ICC Wales. From the outset of the project NatWest Cymru’s support and belief in of our vision for the centre has remained a constant resource. We are looking forward to working with them as a key strategic partner ahead of the opening of ICC Wales in 2019 and beyond.”

Mark Colcomb, vice president finance and support ICC Wales, said: “The ICC Wales project is of huge significance to the region and wider Welsh economy. NatWest Cymru has understood this from the outset and their proactive involvement and desire to support us has helped drive the success of the development. We are very happy to be working with a bank that is putting Wales and the businesses within it first.”