The announcement follows its sixth birthday and comes on the back of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, when significant focus was placed on Northern Ireland’s tourist renaissance. Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, overnight stays in Belfast have more than tripled from 500,000 a year to over 1.5 million and tourism spending has risen to £334m from £84m. Titanic Belfast has had a key role to play in this.
Judith Owens, Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive, commented, “Over the past six years, Titanic Belfast has proved to be a shining example of how a significant tourism investment, public and private, combined with passion and belief can be a catalyst for economic growth and help positively position a destination on the worldwide stage.”
“Since we opened in 2012, we have continued to go from strength to strength, having now welcomed over 4.4 million visitors from over 145 different countries. 2017/18 has been a very strong year for us, with a 13% increase in visitors year on year. Now over 85% of our visitors are coming from outside Northern Ireland and 1 in 5 people are now visiting Ireland because of Titanic Belfast. We, alongside Belfast and Northern Ireland, are firmly on the global tourism map and we have plenty more to give.”
John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI, said “At Tourism NI, we are proud of the key role we played in the development of Titanic Belfast. It has been a catalyst for wider economic growth in Belfast and has truly changed Northern Ireland’s tourism footprint.”
The tourist attraction, which in its first five years, generated £160 million in additional tourism spend for the Northern Ireland economy, is gearing up for a busy 2018/19. It has recently opened a new hospitality space, Hickson’s Point, and has recruited 70 new positions ahead of the summer.
Its business tourism has also blossomed, having hosted over 2,000 business and leisure events including Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee lunch, G8 Summit Reception, BBC Sports Personality of the Year, The World Police & Fire Games International Conference, World Conference of Credit Unions, Giro D’Italia and MTV Sounds. For more information, visit www.titanicbelfast.com.
Tourism NI’s Chief Executive John McGrillen with Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive, Judith Owens, and members of the team.