5,000 tech gurus set for Belfast's web conference
Four day summit to generate £7m
One of Europe's biggest technology events which has counted Bono and tech giants among its speakers is set to bring 5,000 people to Belfast as part of major four-day conference.
As Web Summit organisers announce EnterConf and MoneyConf sister events are to take place in Belfastthe city will play host to two sister events in June as part of the Web Summit - which attracted more than 22,000 visitors to Dublin last year.
It's predicted to rake in £7m for Belfast's economy.
It fought off competition from more than a dozen locations across the world to host the event.
And organisers have predicted it could contribute some £25m to Northern Ireland's economy over the next three years, as it's expected to return.
The Web Summit played host to dozens of big-name stars of the tech world last year, along with U2 frontman Bono and actress Eva Longoria.
It had initially ruffled a few feathers when the idea of staging the four-day event was brought before Belfast City Council.
Initial plans had proposed hosting it at St George's Market - prompting concerns traders could be evicted from their normal busy weekend business.
But the summit's sister conference will now be held at T13 in the Titanic Quarter.
It hosted a small fringe event for the festival last year.
The MoneyConf and EnterConf events will take place at a number of venues, with T13 hosting the main conference programme, which runs from June 15-19.
It's predicted the events could lead to 16,000 hotel room bookings over the course of the week.
The event's founder Paddy Cosgrave said he looked forward to "working with Belfast over the coming months to showcase the city to thousands".
"Web Summit has grown substantially over the past four years making it one of the world's largest technology events," he said.
Starting with just 400 people five years ago, the Web Summit now draws a 22,000-strong crowd of tech heads, entrepreneurs, investors and journalists.
Over the years it's featured a host of big-name speakers from the tech world, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, and former Apple boss John Sculley.
Last year Belfast hosted a much smaller, but nonetheless impressive launch - ahead of the main three-day event at the RDS in November.
And it attracted tech start-ups and entrepreneurs from across the globe to the huge former shipbuilding warehouse.
Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon said the city's "growing reputation as a location for major international events and conferences and as a global player in the tech market" helped attract the major event. "The thousands of delegates who come to our city in June are going to find a young, vibrant, exciting city which is in harmony with their own cutting-edge, innovative and inventive personalities," she said.
Gerry Lennon of Visit Belfast welcome the event and said "securing such high-profile events represents a major opportunity" for the city.
"It's our aim and mission to ensure that we bring the right business events to Belfast that not only benefit the city and generate significant tourism revenue but can also deliver in the longer term - creating and sustaining jobs," he said.