As one of the UK and Ireland’s leading destinations in the meetings, incentive, conference and events (MICE) industry, Belfast is also diverse, dynamic and ambitious with a shared vision of success. The city of Belfast work as one team; we often use the phrase ‘when we win everyone wins’. Attracting conferences to Belfast not only boosts our tourism and hospitality industry, they play an important role in driving economic impact.
Team Belfast work tirelessly to ensure we're front of mind for Association and Corporate clients when they’re choosing the destination for their next world-class event. Belfast Makes Sense, a digital-led campaign by Visit Belfast brought together many of the city’s leading private and public sector organisations, including ICC Belfast, Tourism Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, George Best Belfast City Airport, Titanic Belfast and many of the city’s leading accommodation providers in a collaborative effort to showcase our destination on the world stage.
Queen’s University are key in securing local, national and international conferences and events. Pioneering research and recognition as being a centre of excellence in dedicated specialisms are often two of the most important factors in destination decision making. This in turn positively influences the destination appeal, which enables Belfast to compete at the highest level internationally.
The Belfast Ambassador Programme recognises the efforts of Belfast’s academic, medical and business leaders who help secure major conference and event wins for the city. Through the Programme, Visit Belfast worked with Professor Eileen Murphy, Head of Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University to secure Europe’s largest annual gathering of archaeologists. Belfast won the bid to host the conference, joining Barcelona, Istanbul and Lisbon in a strong international line-up of cities to bring up to 2,500 delegates together for its conference.
Visit Belfast’s 2019 Ambassador Awards ceremony, proudly sponsored by ICC Belfast, said that business tourism wins in 2018/19 that were supported by local ambassadors were estimated to be worth over £29m to the local economy. Professor Eileen Murphy was awarded Ambassador of the Year for her part in the successful bid to host The European Association of Archaeology. Other winners included Professor Tunde Peto from Queen’s University who secured the Institute of Medical Illustrators 2019, World Site Day and Pan-Ireland Ophthalmology Day 2019 in Belfast, Dr Deborah Cox from AFBI for the International Conference of Arabidopsis Research (ICAR), which will attract 800 delegates for five days, worth £1.5m to the local economy. Amanda Beattie from the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers who was instrumental in hosting British Association of Social Workers Annual Conference 2019 and Professor Hugh McKenna and Professor Peter McBride from Ulster University and NI Association of Mental Health who brought the European Conference on Mental Health 2019.
On 17 March 2020, ICC Belfast | Waterfront Hall | Ulster Hall temporarily closed its doors due to the rapid and widespread nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Temporarily closing our doors means temporarily not welcoming international medical conferences to ICC Belfast as those delegates work tirelessly on the front line to treat patients and carry out research to find a cure. It means temporarily not welcoming clients to view our spaces in two of Northern Ireland’s most iconic venues. In the face of all this adversity it can be difficult to remain positive; however, it is important to remember these measures are only temporary. We must come together and take a united approach that keeps safety and wellbeing at the forefront.
In support of the citywide fight against COVID-19, a collective of local music artists have recorded a message of hope to help with the Queen’s University Belfast COVID-19 rehabilitation fundraising efforts. The money raised will support life-changing research for survivors of coronavirus. This project was spearheaded by Petra Ellis and Cormac O’Kane who convened their talented musical friends in order to create this video.
Petra Ellis writes:
I got together with Cormac O'Kane contacted a few of their musical friends and asked them if they'd like to take part in a heartfelt tribute to the NHS. The original song Broken Land was a huge hit in 1988 for the Belfast band The Adventures. The writer of the song, Pat Gribben, agreed to rewrite the lyrics to suit. Everybody recorded in their own homes. Cormac edited and produced the video. Nicky, Pat and Liam had home studio setups and fed all their contributions to Cormac's home studio. The singers either contributed by phone or home studio as well.
Some of the homegrown artists who took part in the song and who have performed on our iconic sister stages in the Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall over the years include, Peter Corry, Karl McGuckin, Derek Ryan, Kerri Quinn, Brain Kennedy, Niamh and many more, see the full list of artists on the Queen’s website.
In times like these, the people of Belfast are in this together and together we can heal this broken land. ICC Belfast are proud to support Queen’s University in this heartfelt tribute to NHS workers and extend our thanks to all key workers. If funds in excess of £200,000 are raised, they will be donated to the Queen’s University Belfast Rapid Response Innovation Fund, which is used to support the area of greatest need, including providing start-up funding for other COVID-19 related research projects. To listen to the full song, visit Queen’s University YouTube Channel and to donate, click here.