Some of Northern Ireland’s top business figures are on their way to Istanbul to try and prove that Belfast has what it takes to host a major conference worth at least £3m to the economy.
Bro McFerran, Mark Nodder, Anne McGregor and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, along with the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau, will be selling the city as a destination to base the World Chamber Federation’s biennial Congress in 2015, a global Chamber of Commerce event which could see 2,000 high-level business people from 40 different countries come to the city for four days.
Belfast has already made it through to the shortlist of possible destinations for the conference after wooing the visiting judges but still has to fight it out against Geneva, Liverpool, and Turin in front of a judging panel of 52.
Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, said hosting the conference in Belfast would bring huge benefits for the local economy over and above the short-term boost to the hotel, transport and restaurant trades.
“We’ll be able to showcase Northern Ireland and show off the best that we have to offer,” she said.
“We’ll be looking at growing exports and growing trade and that means there will be huge opportunities for our companies to make contacts from across the world,” she said.