In response to the news that conferences and exhibitions have been cleared to return by the NI Executive, Visit Belfast Chief Executive Gerry Lennon said:
“Today has brought the news that many businesses in the tourism industry have been waiting for, and we at Visit Belfast are pleased to see that the Northern Ireland Executive has confirmed that conferences and exhibitions can resume from Monday 16 August. This announcement means that we can now put in place plans to welcome £79.6m of national and international conference business to Belfast through to 2028.
“Belfast is now regarded as a world-class conference destination, thanks to multi-million pound investments by the public and private sectors in the city’s venues, hotels and conference infrastructure. The success of the destination is also down to a strong team ethos that sees Visit Belfast, funded by Belfast City Council and Tourism NI work in close partnership with the industry to attract major business events to Belfast and Northern Ireland. For the last 17 months, this has meant working with organisers to reschedule and redesign events, and it is a credit to the flexibility, resilience and innovation of our industry that we have managed to retain existing and secure new conference business for the future.
“Today’s news is a hugely positive step toward our goal of rebuilding city tourism, bringing a welcome mid-week boost to hospitality businesses across Belfast and we are looking forward to welcoming conference delegates in person to experience all that Belfast has to offer.”
From September to the end of this year, 16 conferences from the UK, Ireland and Europe are scheduled to take place in Belfast, worth an estimated £5m to the local economy.