Belfast to host aviation conference
Belfast is to host a major international aviation conference in 2017 which could attract 1,200 delegates, Northern Ireland's trade minister said.
Senior executives from airlines, airports and tourism authorities are expected to attend the three-day Routes Europe event.
The economic boost to the city is worth £1.3 million, Stormont minister Arlene Foster said.
"Hosting Routes Europe in Belfast in 2017 provides us with a rare opportunity to bring influential decision-makers into the region and showcase Northern Ireland's tourism and business potential.
"This conference has the potential to accelerate route development for Belfast and Northern Ireland, with previous hosts of Routes Europe confirming up to six new routes after hosting the event.
"This will benefit business, tourism and the aerospace sectors."
Routes Europe is firmly established as a meeting point for airlines, airports and destinations where new services can be brokered.
Gerard Brown, head of future hosting at Routes UBM EMEA, said: "Delegates will be exposed to the business and tourism opportunities that exist in Northern Ireland and our hosts will have the opportunity to showcase the unprecedented £300 million tourism infrastructure investment of recent years to the Routes community.
"To have our audience of over 1,200 of the European aviation industry's most senior decision-makers attend Routes Europe 2017 in Belfast will help to deliver on the ambitious air service targets within Northern Ireland's economic growth strategy.
"Belfast has shown that it can deliver on world-class events and the Belfast partners demonstrated a highly unified and aligned approach in their bid to host the event.
"We look forward to working with them towards Routes Europe 2017 and are confident that our delegates will enjoy the unique and genuinely warm hospitality for which the city is renowned."
The main conference will take place from Sunday April 23 to Tuesday April 25 2017 and there will also be a programme of supporting events across the city.