Belfast events to double in value

Tourism Ireland predicts Belfast's event market will double in value compared to 2011, as it revealed significant bookings at Titanic Belfast and extension plans for Belfast Waterfront Conference Centre.

Belfast events "to double in value" with Titanic and Waterfront extension
Belfast events "to double in value" with Titanic and Waterfront extension

The tourism body expects a "sharp rise" in event bookings this year at the new Titanic Belfast attraction which opens later this month.

The museum and event venue, modeled on the hull of the Titanic - which was built in the city - has already booked 140 events and has provisional bookings until 2016. The venue told Event these include gala dinners, corporate events, awards ceremonies and conferences.

Tourism Ireland also revealed concept plans for an extension to the nearby Belfast Waterfront Conference Centre, which is set to double conferencing space by 2016. The proposed £20 million plans include 2100sqm of exhibition space, banqueting facilities for 750 people and up to five break-out rooms each holding 200 people.

The extension is expected to bring £39m annually to the local economy, doubling the 2011 value of conferencing and events to the city, according to Tourism Ireland.

David Boyce, deputy head of Tourism Ireland, Great Britain, said: "As a result of the new Titanic Belfast venue opening in 2012 we forecast a significant increase in business tourists to Northern Ireland this year versus 2011."

He continued: "When the Belfast Waterfront expansion opens in 2016, we will see business visitor numbers increasing a further 25,000 year on year. In addition, we expect spend and stay per conference visitor will increase as the opening of Titanic Belfast and the new Giants Causeway Visitor Centre come into their own."

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