Belfast: Build it and they will come

Plans to extend Belfast Waterfront’s conference and events space are already paying dividends, according to venue management, with almost 50 international and national associations confirmed to date.
 
The 4,000sqm extension opening in spring 2016 will almost double the current events space at the venue to 7,000sqm.
 
The conferences and events pipeline booked in, management claims, will bring 43,000 delegates to the city. The high tech extension facility will be able to accommodate larger events with a wider range of requirements.

The £29.5m development was funded by Belfast City Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the European Regional Development Fund, under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, and destination chiefs hope it will be a game-changer for Belfast improving the city’s competitiveness and attractiveness as a business tourism destination, as well as generating a significant number of new jobs within the hospitality sector.

Belfast Waterfront will feature two conference and exhibition halls with a total of 2,500sqm flat floor space, additional meeting rooms for 200 delegates each and exterior terraces.
 These news spaces will go alongside the 2,000-seat auditorium, a 380-seat studio plus 14 meeting rooms.

Geoff Fenlon, interim MD at Belfast Waterfront Conference and Exhibition Centre, said: 
“Belfast Waterfront already bears all the characteristics of an award-winning conference centre. These winning attributes together with double the event space and the latest in event technology, have been key to attracting larger international events for 2016 and beyond – even as far as 2021.”

Visit Belfast’s director of business tourism, Rachael McGuickin added: 
“Over a billion pounds of investment over the last decade has helped Belfast emerge as an attractive conference and events destination, particularly within the UK association market. Belfast City Council’s commitment to investing in the conference tourism product will allow us to compete on a more international scale and help realise our ambition of becoming a top 100 conference destination in the world by 2020.



“Visit Belfast has ambitious targets for its business tourism sector with an aspiration of increasing business tourism bed nights by 250% over the next five years and the success of the Belfast Waterfront is central to the wider Belfast tourism industry achieving this.”



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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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