Conferences could bring £7m to city
Belfast has landed its biggest business conference deal yet, with the city predicting a £7 million windfall from the two global events in June.
More than 5,000 delegates are expected for the technology industry showpieces organised by Web Summit.
Belfast won a competitive tender process after a successful pitch by Visit Belfast in partnership with Invest Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.
Web Summit's MoneyConf and EnterConf events will take place across a number of venues over four full days from Monday June 15 until Friday June 19.
Discussions are already under way to expand the events in 2016 and 2017, with Belfast in the running to again be the host.
This year, the T13 venue in Belfast's Titanic Quarter will be the main base for the conferences .
Organisers say the two events combined represent the largest ever conference programme to be held in Belfast and will be co-ordinated with similar tech gatherings in Las Vegas and Hong Kong.
Lord Mayor Councillor Nichola Mallon said: "Belfast's growing reputation as a location for major international events and conferences and as a global player in the tech market is underlined by the organisers of Europe's most important web event choosing the city as the venue for these major conferences.
"The city is a fitting location as it has invested millions of pounds in our digital infrastructure and is home to a number of innovative tech companies who are taking the world by storm, particularly in the field of creative industries.
"These events tie in with a key component of our economic development strategy for the city which is attracting business tourism through major events and conferences and which is evidenced by the £30 million investment in conference and exhibition facilities at Belfast Waterfront.
"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."
Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon added: "Securing such high-profile events represents a major opportunity for Belfast. These conferences will bring global technology leaders to the city, generating significant mid-week, high-spend business as well as benefiting the wider regional economy.
"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, enhancing our international profile and in improving the overall attractiveness of the city as a place to visit and do business in."
MoneyConf is set to attract 2,000 delegates who specialise in creating and developing technology to support some of the biggest names in the global finance market for two days from Monday June 15.
EnterConf will then begin on Thursday June 18 for a two-day run that will see more than 3,000 delegates participate in a programme focused on the development and expansion of business technologies.
Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and founder of Web Summit, said: "Web Summit has grown substantially over the past four years making it one of the world's largest technology events.
"We're therefore incredibly excited to bring our first two standalone conferences to Belfast in June. We look forward to working with Belfast over the coming months to showcase the city to thousands of attendees from around the world and some of the world's greatest entrepreneurs."
Invest Northern Ireland chief executive Alastair Hamilton said: "Over the last five years Northern Ireland has established itself as the UK's leading location for foreign direct investment outside London. Belfast is also the world's leader for financial services technology investment.
"We see these significant events as an integral part of our longer-term plans to grow the financial services and technology sectors and to highlight the strength of our knowledge economy and the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as an outstanding place in which to invest in and do business."