Industry leaders back new Visit Belfast campaign to drive ambitious business tourism growth for the city
Belfast’s official tourism marketing agency, Visit Belfast, has launched a brand new marketing campaign designed to rapidly accelerate the volume of inbound business conferences and events taking place in the city.
Emphasising the importance of business tourism to Belfast and Northern Ireland and developed by Visit Belfast with 13 major partners from the city’s thriving tourism industry – Belfast Makes Sense – was officially launched at the start of International Confex 2019 in London today.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, International Confex is one of the largest, dedicated exhibitions for the UK meetings, events and exhibitions industry, which is worth at least £40 billion annually to the economy.
Focused on Great Britain and international markets, the digital-led campaign is the largest dedicated business tourism marketing initiative ever undertaken by the city, incorporating a new website, compelling video content, targeted advertising and public relations to support ambitious sales growth.
Uniquely, the year-long campaign will also feature a range of high profile conference and event organisers and new testimonials from previous clients who are championing the city based on their own positive experience.
Directly promoting Belfast’s confident expertise in delivering high quality events, its wide range of modern venues and accommodation, ease of access, value for money and its key sectoral strengths, the campaign will run until early 2020 to ensure the city remains front-of-mind when key booking decisions are made.
Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon, said:
“We’re a strong-performing city and we are ambitious. With a record 100 conferences secured since April and more than 150,000 delegate arrivals in the last five years alone, I’m excited that this collaborative, industry-led campaign will help in ensuring that our story and our strengths are widely shared.
“With our partners, we want to build on our achievements, to consolidate and strengthen our position and further increase our presence.
“In addition, with new hotel developments worth more than £150 million added in recent years, Belfast’s business tourism sector is well placed for further growth. I’m confident that ‘Belfast Makes Sense’ will help to reinforce our growing international reputation as a quality business tourism destination.”
The campaign was developed through investment and collaboration of many of the city’s leading private and public sector organisations including Tourism Northern Ireland, ICC Belfast, TBL International, Queen’s University Belfast, George Best Belfast City Airport, British Airways and many of the city’s leading accommodation providers – Hastings Hotel Group, Andras Hotel Group, Dalata Hotel Group, Hilton Belfast, Ten Square Hotel and Titanic Hotel.
The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) was one of Belfast’s first significant clients to bring its annual conference to the newly-expanded ICC Belfast.
“Our Belfast conference was the most well-attended event we had in 10 years. The support we received from Visit Belfast, ICC Belfast and the city was invaluable,” ASGBI General Manager, Bhavnita Patel said.
“More than 1,100 delegates attended and were immediately made to feel like VIPs. The entire city, from taxi drivers to staff in hotels, bars and restaurants were aware that we were in town and they made us feel so welcome. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Belfast to UK associations for conferences and events.”
Professional conference organiser Archer Yates Associates, based in Oxfordshire, and which is bringing a range of specialist clients to Belfast is also proud to back the new campaign.
“Belfast has a great range of high quality venues, with plenty more of new and exciting developments being added,” Julie Archer, Managing Director of Archer Yates Associates said.
“Suppliers are professional, friendly and are great to work with. We were able to secure competitive rates from various hotels and the last event we produced in Belfast delivered a much better return for our client than we had anticipated. The city is very competitive for conferences and events and it offers a great experience for our delegates.”
Belfast is currently one of the UK and Ireland’s leading destinations for the meetings, incentive, conference and events (MICE) industry.
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