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Titanic Belfast named Europe's top visitor attraction - ahead of Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum

First Minister Arlene Foster joins celebrations with Titanic Belfast's vice-chairman Conal Harvey (left) and chief executive Tim Husbands as it is named as Europe's leading visitor attraction at the World Travel Awards. Photo: William Cherry / Press Eye

TITANIC Belfast has beaten off competition from the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum in Rome and even Buckingham Palace to be named as Europe’s leading visitor attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards held in Sardinia.

It's the first time an attraction in Northern Ireland has won the top prize in the 23-year history of the tourism 'Oscars’.

Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands said he was "absolutely thrilled" that, after only four years in operation, the attraction - which last month welcome its three-millionth visitor - had gazumped many of Europe’s most iconic landmarks.

"This is a true honour," he said.

"We know what we offer at Titanic Belfast is something our city and country can be proud of and are delighted that this is has been recognised on an international level.

"We are looking forward to welcoming the national and international visitors that this award will attract to Belfast and Northern Ireland. We would like to thank everyone who has supported and voted for us.”

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “In just four short years Titanic Belfast has become a global brand which has put Northern Ireland on the map for all the right reasons, and this official confirmation that it is now Europe’s leading tourist attraction is well deserved.

"The award is further proof that the investment and imagination that went into this attraction keeps paying dividends for the whole of Northern Ireland.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: “Titanic Belfast being voted Europe’s leading visitor attraction is a phenomenal achievement. The story of the Titanic is known around the globe and it is only right and proper we have a world class visitor attraction to match.”

The accolade comes on the back of a record-breaking August for Titanic Belfast as it experiences significant visitor numbers growth from France, Germany, USA and China.

Since opening in 2012 the Belfast attraction it has welcomed guests including Queen Elizabeth II, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Titanic director James Cameron, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and major celebrities including Adele and Michael Bublé.

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