The newly extended Belfast Waterfront welcomed 150 major conference organisers, event planners and meetings professionals for an exclusive preview of the soon to be completed 7,000m2 facility.
Industry insiders from the UK and Ireland enjoyed a truly spectacular event programme showcasing the remodelled facility, which will reopen in May 2016 following a £29.5 million investment by Belfast City Council (£11 million), the European Regional Development Fund, through the EU Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland (£13.3 million), and Tourism Northern Ireland (£5.2 million).
An engaging programme of music and dance highlighted the new spaces and the endless possibilities they present. Guests enjoyed a spectacular display of the ‘Best of Belfast’ and a taste of what’s to come, when the venue opens in less than 100 days. Once opened the new Belfast Waterfront is expected to attract 55,000 conference delegates per year and bring in £100 million to Belfast by 2020.
"We promised the new Belfast Waterfront would deliver a brand new experience for up to 5,000 delegates. Today’s preview proved that we can deliver on our promise and left guests in no doubt that Belfast Waterfront is a leading conference and entertainment venue and has both the capacity and capability of hosting many larger international events," said Geoff Fenlon, Interim Managing Director at Belfast Waterfront.
So far, over 30 international and national events have been confirmed for the Waterfront over the next three years. Big names to already sign on the dotted line include BBC Good Food Show (14-16 October 2016), the World Credit Union (17-20 July 2016) and the Royal College of Nursing (May 2018).
The first conference in the new Belfast Waterfront, the annual International Surgical Congress of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI), will attract 2,000 delegates bringing £2.2m for Belfast through bed nights, transportation and other visitor spends.
Nicholas Gair, ASGBI Chief Executive has commented: “The new developments at Belfast Waterfront perfectly meet the requirements of our International Surgical Congress, allowing us to stage large-scale plenary symposia as well as intimate ‘meet the expert’ sessions. Additionally, the impressive riverside setting and discreet design of the major refurbishment provide an ideal backdrop for our event, and the famous Belfast hospitality offers a multitude of unique venues for our social occasions.”
From left to right: David Boyce (Tourism Ireland), Geoff Fenlon (Belfast Waterfront), Sheila Geary (Visit Belfast) and Willie Lougheed (Tourism Northern Ireland).
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