Belfast named best in the world for business events

  • Belfast has secured the coveted ‘Best Events Destination’ title at the Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) Awards 2021.

    Belfast had previously been awarded the title in both 2018 and 2019.

    The awards, which are held in London, recognise the best of the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) industry around the world and are firmly recognised as the most sought-after honours in business tourism.

    In less than a decade, Belfast has confounded expectations to become one of the world’s best event destinations in a highly-competitive marketplace. 

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    This latest award recognises the efforts made by Visit Belfast and the tourism industry, which is renowned for going the extra mile for conference and event organisers and delivering an exceptional experience for delegates.

    Welcoming the award, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Tom Haire, said: “After a challenging 18 months for tourism, Belfast has continued to demonstrate its determination to succeed and shown great resilience to overcome difficulties and positively move forward, ensuring that the city remains an attractive destination for meetings and events.”

     Business events are a hugely important part of the city’s tourism economy because they generate mid-week, year-round, high spending visitors for our venues, hotels, bars, restaurants, transport providers and events supply chain. Conferences and Exhibitions in Northern Ireland were given the all-clear to return on 16 August, so this award comes at a crucial time as event planners look to select destinations and plan in-person events.

    The award also reflects Belfast’s commitment to the conference and events industry and to adapting fast to changing needs in the marketplace.  This was confirmed by C&IT’s expert panel of judges who commented: “Belfast has always confounded expectations, building a tourism and events enterprise which now captures the attention of the global travel and events industry as a resilient destination that has adjusted and innovated to meet latest market demands.”

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    Earlier this year, Belfast was confirmed the official host city for the One Young World Summit in 2023 – a global forum for around 2,000 young leaders – following a competition of eight global city candidates from across five continents.

    Since the start of the pandemic, Visit Belfast, in partnership with its venues and accommodation partners, worked hard to safeguard existing event bookings while also targeting new business events for the years ahead. Since March 2019, it has successfully retained 103 high-value future events and secured 15 new events that will deliver a combined £81 million by 2028, clearly demonstrating the high economic impact and importance of the sector to the city economy.

    ICC Belfast, the city’s £30 million purpose-built international convention centre, was Highly Commended in the ‘Best Venue’ category at this year’s annual C&IT awards, reflecting its team’s dedication to creating innovative solutions for clients that have seen it continue to deliver a range of events that have reached global audiences.

    Last week, a £1 million conference support scheme for the tourism industry was unveiled by the Department of Economy’s Tourism Minister Gordon Lyons to provide an attractive incentive for conference organisers to bring their events to Northern Ireland.

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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