Business events and live entertainment critical to the city’s continued economic performance.
Senior leaders from across Northern Ireland came together at an event hosted by ICC Belfast today, to reaffirm their commitment to delivering economic impact for the city.
It is estimated that events such as conferences and conventions deliver approximately £209 million in direct economic impact, with up to 2000 new jobs targeted by 2030 as a result.
Attendees, which included key decision makers in business tourism including ICC Belfast partners Visit Belfast, Tourism Northern Ireland and Invest NI had the opportunity to engage with leadership expert Andy Fell, author of What Winners Do. The session highlighted how working together will support the sector’s common goal – to help build on Belfast’s burgeoning reputation as a unique city for business events.
Steve Daniels, Chairman of ICC Belfast, also delivered an address at the event and said, "We all recognise Belfast’s potential and growing position as a leading congress destination, and one of Europe’s most accessible, vibrant and flourishing cities.
We’re incredibly proud that ICC Belfast’s world-class offering is helping to unlock unprecedented potential. It’s wonderful to come together today to discuss our collective sense of ambition, recognise how successful our ongoing collaboration has been to date, and consider how we can all continue to work closely together
to deliver on our commitment to the city.
“Building the Belfast brand, and its reputation for conferences and events is crucial. With the support of our stakeholders and citywide partnership, we intend to consistently exceed our clients’ expectations to underpin our reputation as a premium venue capable of accommodating globally significant business events. We may all have a different role to play but we share the same vision.”
ICC Belfast is Belfast’s only purpose-built conference centre. Following a £29.5M extension funded by Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and the European Regional Development Fund, the 7,000m2 venue was officially opened in 2016. Delegates choose the venue for its accessible location, its versatile specification, its acclaimed staff, and its proximity to wider city attractions.
Events held at the venue often lead to lasting legacies for the city. For instance, it was selected to host Harkin International Disability Employment Summit in 2022, with Belfast undergoing transformational change before, during and post-Summit to improve accessibility and inclusivity.
In April of this year, ICC Belfast hosted CYBERUK and all delegates experienced Belfast as a city with a hard-earned and new-found status as a city of potential. They departed with a clear understanding that Belfast is a city primed for international investment. One Young World has selected Belfast for its 2023 Summit in October and will provide young business leaders from Northern Ireland the opportunity to effect meaningful change on a global level.
Last year Tourism Northern Ireland, Visit Belfast and Visit Derry joined forces with a range of organisations including ICC Belfast, Queen’s University and Ulster University to launch an integrated strategy for business events in Northern Ireland. The strategy is seeking to double the number of international conferences hosted annually and attract three times the number of delegates from the UK and Ireland by 2030.
Nikki Paterson, Business Solutions Manager at Tourism Northern Ireland said:
The people of this region recognise the impact of business tourism and value the societal contribution this cohort of visitors make. Business events are crucial to the city’s success and today’s event was a compelling reminder as we push ahead with our strategy and continue to collaborate as an industry to deliver on our ambition for Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Steve concluded, "I was appointed as Chairman in November last year and it’s important to me that our stakeholders recognise how determined we are to make a difference, and this starts with ensuring our own team understand the crucial contribution they make by creating a world class stage for great things to happen.
I am truly appreciative to all who attended our event today. We look forward to galvanising relationships as we collectively continue to deliver socially, culturally and economically for Northern Ireland. After all, when we win, everyone wins. Today, tomorrow and beyond.