Conference Management: Why is Northern Ireland a great destination?
Every year on March 17th, the world goes crazy for St. Patrick’s Day – an annual celebration of the patron saint of Ireland.
Despite being well known for its evident entertainment value and traditional culture, this stunning country possesses an equally impressive professional offering, making a perfectly suitable option when deciding on where to host a conference or exhibition.
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, has acquired a growing reputation for its business tourism value. Renowned as a cosmopolitan city and cultural beacon, this tourist hotspot possesses a contemporary vibe with modern architecture that captures the urbanity of a bustling metropolis. However, the surrounding scenery and long existing tradition behind Ireland’s beautiful surface still manages to shine through, making Belfast a destination that everyone should experience.
This incredible city is as much an incentive for employees as it is for those running the event. It is home to 2016’s World Leading Visitor Attraction, Titanic Belfast. The city also offers a plethora of fine-dining options with locally sourced products, which will ensure that your trip is as tasty as it is fascinating! Twelve new hotels are either in the planning or construction stage to accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors.
Love Belfast reveals some of the most impressive corporate event settings the city has to offer, including Belfast Castle, just 10 minutes from the city centre:
"The vibrant capital of Northern Ireland’s rich industrial heritage has shaped its culture, which is best portrayed at any of the preserved historical buildings."
Beyond Belfast, there’s the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway, while not far from the jaw-dropping north coast, there are places such as the ‘Dark Hedges’ which have achieved international acclaim from being featured in the hit TV series, Game of Thrones.
As an event management company, we are constantly looking for inspiration and information around new and exciting places to suggest for our clients’ events, especially when creating and delivering conferences, exhibitions, and business meetings. Unlike incentive events, business-focused events look to provide a ‘workplace away from the office’ and offer employees the opportunity to network, allowing them to develop their career prospects and learn more about their industry.
Here, at First Event, we understand that finding the right location for a conference, exhibition, or business meeting is paramount, and can be the difference between a good event and a fantastic event. The nature of business-focused industry clients means that often, an easily accessible city-based event venue that reflects the constantly developing and fast-paced business industry in a modern location is something to take into consideration when selecting a destination.
As one of the most famous cities in Ireland, Belfast offers everything worth experiencing in a city and more – character, versatility and modernity. The Belfast Waterfront alone is a purpose-built conference and entertainment centre, providing venue space for a multitude of conferences, exhibitions, and meetings. Along with a variety of venue spaces to host your event, this evolving city also boasts convenient travel connections to the UK, making it an easily accessible, well-connected destination. For example, the Belfast International Airport-London Gatwick link, which has twelve connections a-day, is the UK’s busiest domestic route.
First Event Senior Account Manager Gemma Hayden believes Belfast has a lot to offer for a range of events:
"We can create a variety of options for anyone looking to hold a business event in Northern Ireland. The city of Belfast is always high on our list for consideration, as it can provide many options in venues and hotels - all set against a backdrop of a vibrant and picturesque city.
The other major attraction is the fact that Northern Ireland, as part of the UK, is a Sterling currency region. There’s no currency exchange loss or financial penalties, unlike the rest of the island of Ireland which uses the euro. Pound for pound, there’s greater client value to be had in selecting Northern Ireland for your conference business."
Laurie Scott, Director of Business Development at Visit Belfast, is confident in what Belfast has to offer for those looking to hold conferences and exhibitions, and welcomes the prospect of new custom and tourism in the city:
"Belfast is a welcoming city, alive with creativity and innovation.
A growing reputation for hosting large-scale events like the MTV Europe awards, Giro d’Italia, the World Police and Fire Games, and conferences like the World Council of Credit Unions Congress, British Orthopaedic Association Congress and the ASGBI Conference, has led to huge growth in the city’s business tourism. Over one billion pounds has been invested in the city’s tourism infrastructure in the past ten years, and the growth is still going."
Belfast’s impressive portfolio of hosted events is only set to increase alongside its impressive professional venue offering, with a multitude of reasons as to why it’s the perfect choice for a conference or event.
"Easy to access, and with world-class conferencing and meeting venues, an extensive and exciting hospitality offering, and attractions like Titanic Belfast (voted the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2016), Belfast and Northern Ireland offers a unique and vibrant location for any conference or meeting."
With over one billion pounds having been invested in the city’s tourism infrastructure over the past ten years, there’s no wonder that Belfast is rapidly becoming a popular location for conferences and events. The future looks bright for this beautiful city, and its events potential looks only set to grow.
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