Belfast’s renaissance is very much a reality with the city now a destination of choice for international conferences. The city is reaping the rewards of a £1billion investment programme which has successfully revitalised, regenerated and renewed its tourism offering. So much so that ICC (International Convention Centre) Belfast, the city’s 7,000m2 purpose-built convention centre, will welcome 9 major international conferences over the next 12 months, generating around 29,000 delegate nights and over £10m for the city.
The new Belfast continues to grab the headlines. This week, the Lonely Planet named Belfast and the Causeway Coast the Number One Region in the world to visit in 2018. Earlier this year The Independent listed Belfast among ‘the 9 incredible European cities that tourists overlook’ and the Qantas Travel Insider branded Belfast ‘The Emerging Capital of Cool.’ Nowadays Northern Ireland’s capital city ranks alongside Berlin and Budapest as one of Europe’s coolest alternative destinations and delivers a social programme packed with unique attractions, award-winning restaurants, the finest of pubs as well as the Northern Irish craic.
With these accolades demonstrating a real interest in what the city has to offer, ICC Belfast has already welcomed a long line of high profile international conferences this year, including: Routes Europe 2017, the 15th International Pragmatics Conference and the 44th European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics. And it’s no surprise that the venue’s conference events programme will continue to boast many ‘heavy hitters’ from a multitude of industries including the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit; the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Congress and the 16th Euro Fed Lipid Congress.
Thanks to the partnership with Visit Belfast, both ICC Belfast and the city's reputations continue to go from strength to strength in the international business tourism industry.
Dr Frank Amoneit, Managing Director of Euro Fed Lipid, explains why Belfast is the destination of choice for their conference:
"Belfast Waterfront's new expansion put Belfast on the table as a potential host city for the 16th Euro Fed Lipid Congress in 2018. The city's overall package of facilities, a good spread of hotels nearby the venue and an extensive network of flights made Belfast an attractive destination for our annual conference. In addition, we have received great support from both Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast and are looking forward to hosting our conference in Belfast."
Dr Mike Johnston MBE, joint chair of the Local Organising Committee for the IDF World Dairy Summit 2017, comments:
"In essence, if it had not been for the new state-of-the-art facilities at Belfast Waterfront and the city’s new hotel infrastructure, we wouldn’t have considered hosting our event in Belfast. Belfast Waterfront facilities are as good as and better than most international venues."
Catherine Toolan, Managing Director of ICC Belfast, is delighted with the growing interest in the city from across the globe, and comments:
“There’s no doubt being the birthplace of the Titanic and a key film location for ‘Game of Thrones’ has made Belfast a truly intriguing city for business visitors. In fact, the ‘curiosity factor’ has seen many of our clients’ conferences attract more delegates to Belfast than expected. Thanks to increased connectivity, a rise in the number of hotels and the extended Waterfront Convention Centre, we can now accommodate the ever-growing demand to host high profile international conferences and business events in our fascinating city.”