Belfast launches bid for 2023 global conference, which could net north's economy £2m

Pictured are the Northern Ireland big delegation. From back left: Rachael McGuickin,Visit Belfast; Jonathan Ireland, Lanyon Group; Jaime Bennett, Conference Partners International; Catherine Toolan, ICC Belfast and Louise Turley, NI Chamber. Pictured at the front are: Alistair Reid, Belfast City Council; Ann McGregor, NI Chamber; and Gerry Lennon,Visit Belfast.

A BELFAST delegation has launched an ambitious bid to bring a global conference to the city, which could generate almost £2 million for the local economy.

The local delegation, led by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) arrived in Brazil yesterday to put its hat in the ring to host the World Chambers Congress in 2023.

If successful, it is estimated the three-day event, which would be held at the ICC Belfast, could generate £1.92m for the Northern Ireland economy.

The delegation from the north, which also includes; Invest Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Visit Belfast and ICC Belfast is in Rio de Janeiro this week - the host city for the 2019 global conference.

Around 1,200 participants representing 100 countries are due to attend the event this week, which will feature 80 global speakers across 25 panel and plenary sessions, all under the theme of ‘creating a shared future'.

The NI Chamber, which is a gold sponsor of the 11th ICC World Chambers Congress in Rio, hopes that by having a presence at the biennial global forum they can sell Northern Ireland as a "world-leading destination".

“Over the next three days in Rio we will confidently begin to position Northern Ireland as a serious contender to host the Congress in 2023 – underpinned by many important considerations such as our excellent connectivity, our burgeoning business tourism industry and our award-winning congress venue, ICC Belfast," NI Chamber chief executive, Ann McGregor said.

NI Chamber has joined with British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Chambers Ireland to present the sole UK and Ireland bid to host the 2023 event.

In a joint statement both organisations believes the bid has been further strengthened by the collaboration.

“Northern Ireland's bid to host the WCC is an excellent example of the power of partnership, with NI Chamber enjoying the support and backing of the entire Chamber network across the UK and Ireland in a unique and stand-out approach to the bid process. Collectively, this network of 114 Chambers represents 130,000 member companies and over eight milllion employees.

“When coupled with the strong public and private sector partnerships between NI Chamber and strategic partners in Northern Ireland, this presents a very strong, collaborative message to the Congress organisers about our serious intent to bring the WCC to Belfast in 2023," they said.

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