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Belfast Makes Sense campaign to accelerate business tourism growth

Posted 26th Feb, 2019

Marie-Claire Caldwell

Marie-Claire Caldwell Marketing Campaign Manager

Belfast’s official tourism marketing agency, Visit Belfast, has lifted the lid on ‘Belfast Makes Sense’, a brand new marketing campaign designed to rapidly accelerate the volume of inbound business conferences and events taking place in the city.

Belfast Makes Sense

Emphasising the importance of business tourism to Belfast and Northern Ireland and developed by Visit Belfast with 13 key major partners from the city’s tourism industry – Belfast Makes Sense – kicked off on Tuesday 25 February 2019.

Focused on Great Britain and international markets, the digital-led campaign is the largest dedicated business tourism marketing initiative ever undertaken by the city, incorporating a new website, compelling video content, targeted advertising and public relations to support ambitious sales growth.

Uniquely, the year-long campaign will feature a range of high-profile conference and event organisers and new testimonials from previous clients who are championing the city based on their own positive experience.

Commenting on the Belfast Makes Sense campaign, ICC Belfast | Waterfront Hall | Ulster Hall Chief Executive, Catherine Toolan said:“ICC Belfast is Northern Ireland’s only purpose-built international convention centre, so we’re delighted to add another element to our strategic partnership with Visit Belfast through our involvement in the Belfast Makes Sense campaign. Belfast is one of Europe’s most accessible, vibrant and flourishing cities and we want to be front of mind for Association and Corporate clients when they’re choosing the destination for their next world-class event.

We love welcoming new visitors to our city and to our venue and we’re confident that this collaborative campaign will set us apart from other destinations and showcase the strength of our business tourism offering to our target audience. Catherine Toolan, ICC Belfast Chief Executive

Many of our clients have been with us since we first opened over twenty years ago and the feedback we get time and time again is how far Belfast has come as a city since then and how much it continues to evolve. We love welcoming new visitors to our city and to our venue and we’re confident that this collaborative campaign will set us apart from other destinations and showcase the strength of our business tourism offering to our target audience. This will undoubtedly have a positive social, cultural and economic impact for our people, today and in years to come."

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: “Belfast is a modern, warm, welcoming and appealing city committed to ensuring that every visitor need is matched with a choice of quality facilities and an outstanding hospitality provision and I’m excited that this collaborative, industry-led campaign will help in ensuring that our story and our strengths are widely shared.

“Belfast is diverse, dynamic and ambitious with a shared vision of success and this new campaign underlines the opportunity and choice available to our local, national and international guests who are seeking a compelling, connected and easily accessible destination in which to host an important conference or event.”

Showcasing Belfast's expertise

Directly promoting Belfast’s confident expertise in delivering high quality events, its wide range of modern venues and accommodation, ease of access, value for money and its key sectoral strengths, the campaign will run until early 2020 to ensure the city remains front-of-mind when key booking decisions are made.

Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon, said: “Already a premier conference location, Belfast has been named by leading events industry influencer and publisher Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) as ‘Best Events Destination’ while ICC Belfast is its ‘Best Events Venue’ for 2018-19.

“With our industry partners, we want to build on our achievements, to consolidate and strengthen our position and further increase our presence in this highly competitive market."

With new hotel developments worth more than £150 million added to the city in recent years, Belfast’s business tourism sector is well placed for further growth and ‘Belfast Makes Sense’ will help to reinforce Belfast’s reputation as a standout international business destination.  Gerry Lennon, Visit Belfast Chief Executive

The campaign was developed through investment and collaboration of many of the city’s leading private and public sector organisations including Tourism Northern Ireland, ICC Belfast, TBL International, Queen’s University Belfast, George Best Belfast City Airport, British Airways and many of the city’s leading accommodation providers – Hastings Hotel Group, Andras Hotel Group, Dalata Hotel Group, Hilton Belfast, Ten Square Hotel and Titanic Hotel.

Tourism Northern Ireland Chief Executive, John McGrillen, said:  “As the strategic leader of business tourism in Northern Ireland, Tourism NI is delighted to support our key partner Visit Belfast in the delivery of the ‘Belfast Makes Sense’ campaign. Business tourism, specifically conferences and incentives, is emerging as a key priority for future growth and has a propensity to spread higher spending visitors around Northern Ireland at traditionally quieter times of the year.

“We are fortunate to have a range of unique and unusual venues to accommodate meetings, conferences, events, gala dinners and incentive groups across Northern Ireland, with Belfast in particular fast becoming a destination of choice. This latest campaign is an important step towards reaching our collective aim of making business tourism a £60 million sector annually for our economy.”

Belfast is currently one of the UK and Ireland’s leading destinations for the meetings, incentive, conference and events (MICE) industry.

Since April 2018, more than 100 conferences have been secured for the city, representing an economic impact of around £46 million – and in the last five years alone, the team at Visit Belfast, working with its partners, has successfully attracted over 400 prestigious conferences from all over the world, bringing 150,000 delegates to Belfast and contributing a combined economic benefit of more than £200 million benefit for the local economy.


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