The importance of tourism to the city economy and Belfast to the regional visitor economy cannot be underestimated. Twenty years of tourism growth not only brought many millions of visitors to our city, but it established hundreds of new business enterprises, and with that, many thousands more job opportunities for our resident population. So it is vitally important that we begin to plan for recovery now.
The series of lockdowns have provided time to pause and allow us to reimagine Belfast as a place to live, work and visit in a ‘post-Covid’ world. Our ambitions remain the same, but viewed through a lens of different priorities, acknowledging the need for Belfast to ‘build back better’, tourism has an important role to play.
If we want Belfast to remain relevant in a constantly changing market place, and remain attractive, we need to collectively rethink what a successful tourism destination looks like and how, as a sector, we can demonstrate that tourism can and will be a force for good – contributing not just economically but societally and environmentally.
Visit Belfast’s three-year recovery plan Rebuilding City Tourism 2021-24 sets out a new direction of travel, illustrating a step change in our approach to our marketing and visitor servicing activity, and the generation and measurement of tourism success for the betterment of our businesses, our employees, our residents and our city.