Celebrating another record-smashing year at Titanic Belfast
TITANIC Belfast celebrated its fifth birthday recently with another record-smashing year as the city's signature tourism project.
Since opening in 2012, the venue has established itself as one of the top tourism projects in Europe, showcasing Belfast's unique maritime and industrial past to increasing numbers of visitors from across the world.
Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands said the popular visitor attraction had helped "transform" Belfast by welcoming more than 3.5 million visitors from over 145 countries and is "changing the tourism footprint of Northern Ireland".
"It seems like only yesterday that I took the reins of what I believed to be a game-changing project that would not only help the city reclaim its incredible heritage, but develop Belfast tourism as a whole," he said.
"2016/17 was a really strong year – not only did we have our busiest day ever in August 2016, with an increase in numbers from key markets including Britain, USA, China, France, Germany and Australia, but we were also crowned World's Leading Tourist Attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards."
Last year, over 82 per cent of Titanic visitors were from outside Northern Ireland, while over 40 per cent of all visitors say they visit Northern Ireland solely to visit the tourist facility.
Over the years, the attraction has served as an anchor project for the wider development of Titanic Quarter, being a catalyst for further hotel, commercial and residential developments.
It generated almost £110 million in additional tourism spend for the local economy in its first three years in operation.
And, in terms of business tourism, Titanic Belfast has been a key hook in attracting international events to Northern Ireland.
Since opening, it has hosted over 1,500 business and leisure events, including Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee lunch, the G8 Summit Reception, NI Investment Conference with David Cameron, BBC Sports Personality and the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards.
Laura Cowan, head of business and leisure sales said: "There is no doubt that these signature events play a key role in our business development.
"Many have been aired to millions of viewers, showcasing our city and driving footfall. On a day to day basis, we work closely with Visit Belfast and other venues attract key events to Northern Ireland."
Development of facilities continues apace, with two new venues added to its local operations portfolio last year – The SS Nomadic and The Titanic Exhibition Centre.
"The two new venues increase our offering for our clients," Ms Cowan added. " The SS Nomadic, the last remaining White Star Line vessel, is now available for exclusive hire for a range of private and corporate events.
"The Titanic Exhibition Centre is a 6,000 square metre venue with space for exhibitions, community, sporting events and large scale banquets for over 3,000 people in a central location. Both have proved exceedingly popular."
For more information on Titanic Belfast visit www.titanicbelfast.com.
:: The 2017 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards take place in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 8. For awards information or to book a table visit www.irishnews.com/wea