International Conference Market Targeted to Deliver £100 Million by 2021
ICC (International Convention Centre) Belfast is the new name for Belfast Waterfront. The repositioning, specifically designed to attract the international conference market, officially went live at the beginning of this month- coinciding with the first day of the International Healthy Cities Conference which will bring 3,000 delegates to the venue in a major four day conference, and will generate £1.93 million for the city.
Catherine Toolan, Managing Director of ICC Belfast, said: “The repositioning is a crucial step on the journey to realising the full potential of our fantastic venue. We have the facilities, infrastructure, team and city-wide support to deliver major international conferences in Belfast.
“A comprehensive research process identified the need to specifically tailor our product to the wider UK and international conference market. The repositioning has been the catalyst for a significant body of work – behind it we have a robust digital strategy that dials up our focus on selling ICC Belfast in an incredibly competitive international market.”
The repositioning, delivered in conjunction with Visit Belfast, Tourism NI and Belfast City Council, is vital to delivering 50,000 conference delegate days each year by 2021 across the city. This will generate £100 million in economic impact for Belfast and deliver 1,500 jobs.
The venue, which won Best Venue at the 2018 C&IT Awards, is in a better position than ever before to host major conferences, following the £29.5m extension unveiled in 2016. The redevelopment was funded by Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and the European Regional Development Fund.
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast said: “Belfast is a city on the rise and has received numerous accolades recently including being voted the trendiest European City for Business Travel in 2016, and Lonely Planet naming the city as their number one region to visit in 2018.
“The repositioning of ICC Belfast is designed to support conference and event organiser requirements around the clock. We know the international conference market is incredibly competitive therefore standing still is not an option. With numerous multi-million pound investments in recent years, Belfast has become a world-class conference and events destination – also the feedback we get from organisers is phenomenally positive. We have ambitious targets for the next five years and a successful ICC Belfast is central to delivering these.”
The venue hosted the Royal College of Nursing Annual Congress earlier this year which, with over 4,500 delegates, was the largest conference hosted in the city to date – and delivered an estimated boost to the local economy of £4.8 million.
John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism Northern Ireland said: “The vision behind ICC Belfast has always been to be a catalyst for economic growth in Belfast and Tourism Northern Ireland is proud to have played a key role in the development of a world-class convention centre. The repositioning is based on a desire to ensure Belfast can compete with other major cities for business that will make a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.”
Catherine concluded: “What sets Belfast apart is the vibrancy and energy of the people and businesses of this great city. We know if we win the business we can deliver a city-wide conference experience like no other. The repositioning will help us achieve this, making the venue a more attractive proposition in the international conference market and will enhance Belfast’s reputation as a destination in which to do business.”