City Council to consider whether to lead business delegation to postponed French Riviera investment event

More than 100 business people from the north were due to fly to Cannes for MIPIM 2020 next week
Ryan McAleer

BELFAST City Council is taking advice on whether it will still lead a large delegation to MIPIM after organisers postponed the French Riviera investment event in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Around 100 people from the north were preparing to travel to Cannes for MIPIM 2020 for March 10.

Organisers of the four-day event, which attracts major investors and property firms from across the world, officially postponed the event over the weekend.

It followed a series of high profile firms pulling out of the event amid the spread of Covid-19 across Europe.

Organiser Reed MIDEM said MIPIM 2020 will now take place over June 2-5. But the continued spread of coronavirus has left an air of uncertainty over major events set to take place in the coming months.

Belfast City Council had been due to lead an official delegation of around 80 to Cannes, with another 20-30 people expected to travel.

The event has traditionally been used by developers to announce major investments around in the north.

In a statement, Belfast City Council said: “Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this postponement, Belfast City Council working with the Belfast at MIPIM Taskforce, is seeking advice from all of the relevant parties and once this advice has been considered, an update will follow.

“In all considerations, the health of the delegation is our utmost concern.”

Belfast Harbour's chief executive Joe O'Neill, who chair's the Belfast MIPIM Taskforce, said: “MIPIM has been incredibly important in terms of showcasing our city and the significant investment opportunities in Belfast and the wider region to an international investor audience.

“We believe it is important to continue this work, however we must await a clearer picture for 2020 before we can confirm our next steps, given the extraordinary circumstances presented by the coronavirus. The health and welfare of the Belfast delegation remains our utmost priority at all times.”

Paul McErlean, managing director of public relations firm MCE, who had been due to travel, said a lot of work and expense had been put in by the businesses taking part.

“The biggest loss is the connections and networking. MIPIM is about meeting people, it's about demonstrating your wares and it has been a good shop window for Belfast,” he said.

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