The maritime boost was enough to sustain 902 jobs with almost half a million people attending last August's Belfast celebrations, Belfast City Council said.
The four-day event in the docks area featured concerts, fireworks and continental markets as well as the fleet of ships.
Around 40 Tall Ships dropped anchor in Belfast as part of a race across the Atlantic and back which is staged every eight to ten years - the last race was in 2000 and the last time it visited Belfast was in 1991.
Belfast City Council contributed £1.1 million towards a total cost of £2.4 million.
Fast food stalls, funfair and markets lined the waterfront and visitors travelled from across Ireland - around three quarters of a million people attended some element of the event, with almost a quarter of a million from outside Northern Ireland.
The economic impact on Belfast alone was over £15 million with spend from audiences around Belfast Lough during the parade of sail back out to sea or early arrivals in other ports pushing the final figure closer to £17 million.
The council, in minutes drawn up by a sub-committee which have to be cleared by the full plenary next month, said 94% of visitors rated the event positively.
It also left a new marina at Abercorn Basin near the Odyssey which will be used for future marine events.
The council's development committee agreed in principal to submit a bid to host a Tall Ships race in 2015.
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