ICC (International Convention Centre) Belfast is hosting World Health Organization’s International Healthy City Conference, from 01 to 04 October.
Over 600 delegates per day will descend on the city over four days generating an estimated boost of more than £1million for Belfast.
The prestigious event, which is held every five years, celebrates 30 years of the European Healthy Cities as a network and global movement and will bring together delegates from across the globe including health professionals, politicians, engineers, design professionals, mayors, innovators and activists.
Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive, Joan Devlin, said: “Belfast was one of the first 15 cities to be formally designated as a ‘WHO Healthy City’ in 1998 and we are delighted to welcome the conference to Belfast 30 years on.
“The Northern Ireland public health strategy Making Life Better is focused on reducing health inequalities and the event will be a unique opportunity to learn from the work of other Healthy Cities across the globe and share ways to improve health and well-being.”
The six themes of the network’s new political vision: people, place, participation, prosperity, planet and peace will be the focus of the conference, while the new cohort of designated healthy cities will also be announced during the event.
The conference coincides with the repositioning of Belfast Waterfront’s conferencing business to ICC Belfast, which aims to attract the international market.
Managing Director of ICC Belfast, Catherine Toolan, commented: “Belfast is a vibrant and energetic city and we look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world to experience ICC Belfast’s state-of-the-art facilities. The repositioning of ICC Belfast is now live online with the launch of our website and a robust digital strategy designed to support conference and event organiser requirements twenty-four seven.”
Visit Belfast Chief Executive, Gerry Lennon added: “With multi-millions of pounds of investment and a growing confidence in the city, Belfast has truly become a first-class conference and events destination. Many of those attending IHCC will be first-time visitors – we are confident that they will not only be impressed with the excellent facilities at ICC Belfast, but also with the warmth of the welcome they’ll find from our restaurateurs, retailers, attractions, transport and accommodation providers.”
John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI said: “Following the Royal College of Nursing Congress earlier this year, the IHCC is another major boost to our economy and we are proud to have played a key role in the redevelopment of ICC Belfast and see it go from strength to strength.”
Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown added: “Belfast last hosted this conference in 2003 and so much has changed for the better during those 15 years. I believe those delegates who attended before will see a marked change. Our Belfast Healthy Cities team is a leader in promoting the WHO sustainable development goals and this conference ties in with the Belfast agenda of addressing health inequalities and making life better for all our residents.”
The repositioning of the venue from Belfast Waterfront to ICC Belfast in the conferencing market has been delivered in conjunction with Visit Belfast, Tourism NI and Belfast City Council, and is vital to delivering 50,000 conference delegate days each year by 2021 across the city. This has been estimated to generate £100 million in economic impact for Belfast and contribute to the creation of an additional 1,500 jobs.