Following further changes to coronavirus restrictions by the Northern Ireland Executive on 29 July, ICC Belfast Chief Executive, Julia Corkey, said:
"This week we had the welcome news that concert halls and theatres were permitted to reopen. While public health rightly remains the priority, we are however extremely disappointed that the return of conferences and exhibitions has been further delayed.
Business tourism is integral to the economic recovery of Northern Ireland and prior to COVID-19 the sector was valued at £63.3M of economic impact per year. That is new money into the city to support restaurants, hotels, retail, taxis and much more.
As Northern Ireland’s only purpose-built convention centre, ICC Belfast has delivered conferences and events worth an estimated £108M to the local economy since it opened in 2016.
The reopening of conference centres in the rest of the UK is testament to the demand for in-person meetings, and this week alone ICC Belfast hosted four site visits for future conferences to the city.
Conferences scheduled to take place this September are worth an estimated £1.2M to the local economy. This continued level of uncertainty is in stark contrast to our UK counterparts, and we urge the NI Executive to bring us in line with the rest of the UK."