Events and conferences plan 2021 return following executive green light

Hotels Federation president Stephen Meldrum with board member Vicky Green from the Andras Hotel Group.

A NUMBER of significant business conferences and events will return to the north in 2021 following confirmation of the executive's green light.

President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) Stephen Meldrum confirmed that the industry event Hospitality Exchange will go ahead at the Crowne Plaza in Belfast in October.

He said the Executive's decision represented a major boost for the hotels sector as a whole.

“Hotels benefit from large events taking place in dedicated venues as it brings delegates to Northern Ireland who stay in our bedrooms, dine in our restaurants and enjoy drinks in the hotel bar.”

Like many major events part of the north's conference and events calendar, Hospitality Exchange went virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Mr Meldrum said while this year's event will welcome delegates again, it will not feature an exhibition.

“Having looked at all the permutations, there will not be an exhibition in 2021, as planning and the risk assessment for this element of the event meant it would be very restrictive, and we had concerns that it would not offer the opportunities of networking that it provided in pre-pandemic times.

“This year we will have a dedicated lounge area where suppliers and service providers can meet with businesses reconnecting with existing customers and hopefully getting some new ones,” he said.

“I don't want to give too much away at this stage but there's a real appetite for people to meet up again and there will be a strong social element to the twenty-second Hospitality Exchange.”

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