Business

Visit Belfast pledges to deliver half a billion pounds to city's economy by 2022

Visit Belfast has set a new round of ambitious goals to harness the value of the city's flourishing tourism sector. Pictured at the launch event is Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister, Visit Belfast chair Dr Howard Hastings and Gerry Lennon, chief executive, Visit Belfast.

BELFAST's official tourism marketing organisation has pledged to deliver over half a billion pounds in additional revenue for the city in the next four years.

Visit Belfast announced ambitious plans yesterday to drive Belfast tourism and is targeting an economic return of £130m from its activities in this financial year and £546m up to 2022.

The public-private partnership's fresh plans to drive higher numbers of inbound business leisure tourists in the year ahead include an 18 per cent swell in numbers arriving on cruise ships, bringing the total to 235,000.

The organisation also re-affirmed its commitment to double the economic value of the city's tourism industry from out-of-state visitors by 2021 as part of Belfast City Council's Belfast Agenda.

Visit Belfast said an additional focus to support the development of indigenous conferences, accelerating and expanding its sales marketing activities – including the implementation of the new Belfast brand – would help to propel the city's tourism potential further in the year ahead.

Last year, Visit Belfast booked in a combined 475,000 leisure and conference bed nights, won 95 new conference events and secured a record-beating 117 cruise ship as part of its marketing partnership with Belfast Harbour. In a successful year the organisation's contribution to the city's tourism economy increased by 22 percent

, returning £34 to the local economy for every £1 invested in its tourism, sales and marketing activities. By 2022 it hopes to increase this to a £37 return, while it foresees a significant uplift in business and leisure tourism spend

Visit Belfast chair, Dr Howard Hastings said he was looking to a further year of tourism growth.

“We're committed to doubling the economic value of tourism from out-out-state visitors and to ensuring Belfast and its citizens realise the benefits from a vibrant tourism sector which drives opportunity and ensures this city continues to grow its reputation as a truly great place in which to do business, to invest in, live in and to visit,”

Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon, added:

“Our mission is to create and service visitors to Belfast and Northern Ireland to generate an economic benefit for the city region, creating jobs and wealth, and, as we look forward to the future with confidence, we remain acutely aware of the challenges ahead. However, together, we remain firmly focused on achieving our goals and are always mindful that the strength of our success continues to lie in our public-private sector framework and from the collaborative approach which has helped us to deliver.”

Supported by more than 500 local industry partners, Visit Belfast is a public-private partnership funded and supported by Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and strategic partners Diageo NI, Translink, Belfast One and Value Cabs. Its key corporate partners include Hastings Hotels, Titanic Belfast and Victoria Square.

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