Diageo links up with Visit Belfast
An international drinks manufacturer is to invest £100,000 over the next two years into efforts to promote Belfast as a visitor destination.
Diageo announced the link-up with tourism body Visit Belfast as it officially opened new offices in the city.
The company employs more than 300 staff in three locations across Northern Ireland. Its new city centre offices will host local sales and marketing teams as well as its Ireland-wide customer services and credit management teams.
John Kennedy, president of Diageo Europe, said the office opening was one example of the company's "on-going commitment to supporting economic growth within Northern Ireland".
"Through our employment and production, Diageo is proud of its long-standing history and partnerships throughout Northern Ireland and we are committed to supporting economic growth through hospitality, increased tourism and job creation," he said.
"Today we have officially opened our new state-of-the-art offices in the city centre and have also announced a new investment of £100,000 over two years with our partners Visit Belfast, supporting the great work that they do in developing and promoting Belfast.
"There are now signs of a sustainable recovery with recent statistics from Hospitality Ulster stating that the industry in Northern Ireland as a whole has the potential to create up to 5,000 new jobs in the next 10 years.
"This upturn is reflected in the growth of the night-time economy not only in Belfast but throughout Northern Ireland and at Diageo we are committed to supporting this growth through investment in our brands, in the wider economy and community and with our strategic partners."
Stormont's Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell attended the official opening.
"Diageo is one of Northern Ireland's foremost exporters within the food and drinks sector," he said.
"The company's presence across its three local sites provides valuable employment and job opportunities. The relocation of their corporate headquarters here to the heart of Belfast city centre demonstrates their continued investment in both the city and Northern Ireland.
"Northern Ireland's tourism and hospitality industry has never been in a stronger position. The commitment of Diageo to increased tourism and job creation plays an important part in the continued growth of the industry and the economic prosperity of Northern Ireland."