Belfast has been named the Best Events Destination for the second consecutive year in the Conference & Incentive Travel Magazine (C&IT) Awards, which recognise the best of the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) industry around the world.
This year’s win tops off an impressive year for Belfast, which saw 112 conferences wins for the city’s tourism marketing agency, Visit Belfast. The city also climbed 50 places in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) global rankings, and hosted several prestigious MICE industry events, which brought more than 700 international buyers to the city to experience the destination first-hand.
Thanks to sustained and strategic investment in tourism infrastructure, which includes the recent £29 million extension to the ICC Belfast, the addition of more than 1,000 hotel rooms to the city’s portfolio, a thriving and vibrant hospitality scene, over 500 direct flights into the city from Great Britain each week, and a growing number of event venues and tourism products, Belfast has now firmly established itself as a destination of distinction.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, welcomed the award, saying:
To win for a second year is testament to Belfast’s growing reputation as a leading contender when it comes to hosting events. There is no doubt that we punch above our weight when it comes to the calibre of the national and international events Belfast has proven itself capable of hosting, and that is something which is reflected by the industry.
"Council has supported and invested in the city’s tourism infrastructure, but this award belongs to the whole city, and is something we should all be proud of.”
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, also commented, saying:
The C&IT awards are highly regarded within the global events industry, with winners coming from all over the world, so for Belfast to win the Best Events Destination title twice in two years really shows how the city has solidified its place on the world stage.
“This is a Team Belfast award and reflects successful partnership working across so many city stakeholders – from Belfast City Council and Tourism Northern Ireland investing in product development and sales and marketing; to hoteliers investing in hotel stock; to local events industry and tourism providers, developing and delivering unique and interesting visitor experiences.”