Newly appointed Lord Mayor, Councillor Nichola Mallon made her first official visit to the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre where she welcomed its 100,000th visitor, Mario Cerone from Montreal, Canada.  Since opening, the centre has seen a significant increase in footfall, ticket sales, retail sales and customer satisfaction and is already well ahead of targets set.

The state-of-the-art visitor centre, one of Belfast City Council¹s key capital projects within its wider £150m investment programme, also won the top Innovation Award at last week’s Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.  The £1.82m centre impressed the judges with its technology, design and organisation, creating a visitor experience that far exceeds a traditional information centre.

Lord Mayor, Cllr Nichola Mallon, said:

“Tourism in Belfast has come a long way since the first Welcome Centre opened 14 years ago, with the city now welcoming nearly 8m visitors a year.

“Through our investment in this world-class facility, we wanted to truly reflect the vibrant, contemporary, welcoming destination Belfast has become and I think we can confidently say that we have succeeded in delivering this.  On my first day as first citizen it is great that I have had the opportunity to welcome the 100,000th visitor and to congratulate the team at
Visit Belfast on winning their award.”

“Belfast City Council was supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, enabling us to invest in the hands-on, customer service element of the visitor experience of Belfast. The support that has been provided reflects the importance we place on tourism and ensuring that visitors to our city access everything they need when they are here,” she added.

Relocating to a much more accessible ground-floor location opposite Belfast City Hall, the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre provides a completely new and innovative approach to visitor information, successfully combining the immediacy of digital media, traditional tourist literature and the personal services provided by the visitor information advisors.

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, added:

“The new Visit Belfast Welcome Centre reflects the changing information needs of both our local and overseas visitors and how they use technology to inform and enhance their visit.”

“This state-of-the-art centre embraces a ‘best-in-class’ approach to ensure that visitors see more, experience more and enjoy more, and will increase our capacity in meeting the demands of an increasing number of tourists coming to Belfast each year.”

Visit Belfast is a public/private membership organisation supported by 560 tourism businesses and key strategic partners Translink, Diageo Northern Ireland and Value Cabs.