Belfast has secured the 2016 annual International Surgical Congress of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI). It will be the first conference to use the Waterfront’s new 7,000sqm facility and the event comes to the Northern Ireland capital thanks to a joint bid from Visit Belfast and hosting venue Belfast Waterfront.
The biggest annual meeting of surgeons this side of the Atlantic Ocean will involve 2,000 specialists from across the world in Belfast Surgical Week next May. The Congress and surrounding event activity will generate an anticipated £2.2m for the local economy.
The Waterfront’s expansion will see the venue’s event space double in size and a 2,000-seat auditorium will host the plenary sessions, while two new multi-purpose halls spanning over 2,500msqm will host an exhibition and the gala dinner.
The programme is funded by Belfast City Council (£11m), Tourism Northern Ireland (£4.1m) and the European Regional Development Fund (£14.5m), under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, and administered by Tourism Northern Ireland.
The decision to bring the ASGBI conference to Northern Ireland’s capital city was made, the hosts claim, on the organising committee’s ‘visit experience’.
Nicholas Gair, ASGBI chief executive said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm of Team Belfast to secure our business. Everyone is fully focused on ensuring the event will be a huge success – leaving no stone unturned.”
He added: “Belfast enjoys many advantages, and its geographic advantage cannot be understated. Having an airport five minutes’ drive away from a venue, which is now on par with other leading international venues, will greatly benefit our delegates.”
The theme of the 2016 Congress is ‘Surgery in the Digital Age’.
John Moorhead, ASGBI President and Belfast Ambassador, said he was confident the event would be hugely successful.
Gerry Lennon, chief executive, Visit Belfast said: “Securing the largest surgical association conference in GB and Ireland is a key milestone in Belfast’s tourism journey. Not only will the conference bring a welcome boost to our tourism economy in May 2016, it provides an opportunity to showcase the city’s credentials as a vibrant conference destination and the impressive new facilities on offer at the Belfast Waterfront.”