Titanic Belfast sees profits drop by a third to £800,000
Titanic Belfast has witnessed its profits drop by almost a third to £800,000 in the last year.
That's according to the latest filed accounts for Titanic Belfast Ltd, the company which operates one of Northern Ireland's top tourist attractions.
New accounts show that the firm sustained the drop in pre-tax profits while revenues surged by 7% going from £10.9m to £11.7m.
The directors' report states that in the year under review to the end of March 2015, the centre attracted "an impressive" 625,000 visitors.
The centre celebrates Belfast as the birth-place of the ill-fated Titanic and in the first three years of operating, more than two million visitors have paid to enter.
It opened in March 2012 and according to the directors' report, the company, which is led by Donegal man Pat Doherty of Harcourt Developments, has enjoyed a successful third year as a top visitor attraction in Northern Ireland.
The directors state that numbers increased by 2% year-on-year, with 76% of visitors coming from outside Northern Ireland from 170 countries.
They added that an independent three-year review has calculated the economic benefit of £105m of Titanic Belfast to the local economy since opening.
The directors' report also reveals that an estimated 678,000 visitors from Northern Ireland have visited the centre since it opened. The drop in profit arose chiefly from the firm's administrative expenses increasing from £6.27m to £7.42m.
And the average number of staff employed last year increased from 134 to 153 with staff costs increasing from £2.17m to £2.45m
Titanic Belfast Ltd recorded a gross profit of £7.9m after incurring cost of sales totalling £3.75m.
The directors state that "the appeal of the Titanic story, the quality of the visitor experience facilities and the professionalism of staff continues to drive sustainable consumer demand".
The report also states that the building and surrounding area's third year has enjoyed many highlights including the Carl Frampton and Kiko Martinez fight being held on the adjacent slipways, along with other events including Proms in the Park and the Tall Ships Festival.
Meanwhile, work is due to start on a high-end hotel at the former Harland and Wolff headquarters in Belfast, with plans to extend the site further.
The development of the four-storey, 84-bedroom hotel is being managed by Titanic Quarter Ltd.
Titanic Foundation, with the help of a £4.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Heritage Enterprise programme, is supporting the restoration of the drawing offices.