South East Wales

Nato summit: Celtic Manor boss says Wales must showcase itself

Armed police in Cardiff
Image caption Armed police have taken to the streets of Cardiff in preparation for the summit

The Nato summit in Newport is a "massive opportunity" for Wales' economy, the director of the Celtic Manor resort has said.

Simon Gibson, whose resort will stage the summit on Thursday, said there could be "lucrative benefits if Wales showcases itself correctly".

Writing in a report by Barclays Bank, he said "every hotel between Swansea and Swindon" will be fully-booked.

It comes as armed police are on duty in south Wales as security is stepped up.

Armed officers have started patrols in Cardiff, where a a metal security fence has been erected around the castle, ahead of planned events in the capital.

South Wales Police has urged residents not to be concerned if they see helicopters travelling together and landing at the Celtic Manor, Cardiff Castle, or other locations as part of its planned security operation.

A spokesman said: "They are essential to test our procedures alongside our mutual aid policing colleagues and partners from the military."

Referring to the presence of armed police, a Nato summit spokesperson said: "There is no specific threat to south Wales at this time - these measures are simply a response to the increased security threat across the UK."

Newport's summit will see 61 world leaders, including US president Barack Obama, in the city.

Warship arrives

The first warship has arrived in Cardiff for the Nato summit.

The Latvian minehunter LVNS Viesturs' arrived at Cardiff Docks on Monday morning and is in the Roath Basin.

It is a Tripartite-class vessel, built for the Dutch Navy, with a normal complement of up to 40 officers and sailors.

Meanwhile, HMS Duncan, the Royal Navy's latest Type-45 guided missile destroyer, is due to arrive in Cardiff from Portsmouth on Tuesday.

Other vessels due in Cardiff for the summit include the French anti-submarine frigate, La Motte-Picquet, and the Norwegian corvette HNoMS Skudd.

The Royal Netherlands Navy and the Lithuanian navy are also expected to send minesweepers.

One study ahead of the 2012 Nato summit in Chicago estimated it would generate £77m for the local economy.

About 1,500 accredited journalists are due to in Newport, but the Barclays report estimates thousands more are likely to be there, compared to about 900 who were at the Ryder Cup golf tournament at the Celtic Manor in 2010.

Image caption A huge security operation includes fencing around Cardiff Castle

Mr Gibson, the resort's director, said: "This is an incredibly important moment for Wales and its significance can not be underestimated.

"The Nato summit is the largest event of its type to take place in the UK for 30 years.

"There will be 61 world leaders here. It will be the first time a serving US president will have set foot on Welsh soil."

He added that it was "truly a massive opportunity for Wales to showcase itself and its companies and realise every tangible value".

Writing in the report, Bob Bright, Newport council leader, said: "Long after the delegates have left, Newport will be known globally as a significant city with the capability to deliver a successful summit and is central to the success of the Welsh economy."

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the summit represented an opportunity for Wales' defence-related industries.

Image caption Nato's flag can be seen flying at Cardiff Castle

He said: "We've got a number of them close to the Celtic Manor...and I think it's a huge opportunity for those industries in particular to benefit from the world attention that will be focussed on Wales for those days."

The report, which used data and opinions from Welsh businesses, says more than 24,000 room nights have been reserved in 80 hotels in Newport, Cardiff and Bristol - roughly half the number that were booked in Chicago during the last summit.

However, it also says: "It is slightly concerning that a number of companies felt there would not be much benefit from the Nato summit coming to Wales."

Graham Morgan, director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is vital that the summit runs without complication and that the image the rest of the world gets of Wales is that of a country that can succeed in organising such major events."

John Union, Barclays Corporate Banking's head of Wales region, said: "A successful summit will create direct and indirect business opportunities for Welsh companies for many years to come."

On 20 and 21 November, the Celtic Manor will also host the UK Investment Summit, which will focus on new technologies, and has been described by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable as a chance to "show Wales' strengths as an excellent place to do business and one that is open to foreign investment".

Image caption The Celtic Manor in Newport will host the Nato summit on 4 and 5 September

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