Belfast to net almost £4m from major European conference

Belfast has been chosen to host Europe’s largest annual gathering of archaeologists in 2022. Pictured confirming the announcement are: Aoife Fee, Tourism Northern Ireland; Professor Eileen Murphy, Queen’s University Belfast; Catherine Toolan, ICC Belfast; and Rachael McGuickin, Visit Belfast.

BELFAST has been chosen to host a major European conference, which is set to boost the local economy by almost £4 million.

Belfast will play host to Europe's largest conference on archaeology in 2022, welcoming 2,500 delegates to the city.

The week-long European Association of Archaeology (EAA) event, which has previously been held in Barcelona, Istanbul and Lisbon, is set to deliver £3.8 million to the Northern Ireland economy.

ICC Belfast will host the main four-day conference event, supported by other venues across the city including Queen's University Belfast, before delegates enjoy three further full days of field trips exploring historical sites throughout the island.

Rachael McGuickin, director of business development at Visit Belfast said they are delighted to secure the prestigious conference.

"The EAA Conference will bring an estimated £3.8m to the local economy, contributing to the important role conferences and events play in developing and sustaining Belfast and Northern Ireland's tourism economy by providing mid-week and year-round business that benefits event venues, hotels, restaurants, transport providers and attractions," she said.

Professor Eileen Murphy, head of archaeology and palaeoecology at Queen's University added:

“We are delighted to be welcoming archaeologists from across Europe to our wonderful city and we very much look forward to introducing them to our rich archaeological heritage. The conference organisation team has partners from archaeological and heritage organisations across the island and there is huge excitement in our sector that it is coming to Belfast."

Visit Belfast, Queen's University Belfast and ICC Belfast, with funding support from Tourism Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, jointly secured the conference for the city.

The latest conference win comes on the back of a record year for business tourism performance at Visit Belfast.

In the last financial year Visit Belfast worked with its partners to secure 112 new conference wins for Belfast bringing in over 38,000 delegates and 116,000 hotel bed nights, generating an economic return of around £52m for the city in future years.

Belfast is also increasing its credentials as an international meetings destination, having climbed 50 places in the prestigious ICCA World Rankings, which have just been released for the 2018 calendar year.

Based in Prague, where it was founded in 1994, the EAA has 2,500 members from over 50 countries of all continents, making it the second largest archaeological association in the world.

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