Belfast Telegraph

Now only Guinness is more popular than Titanic Belfast

BY CLAIRE GRAHAM

Titanic Belfast is now the second most popular visitor attraction on the island of Ireland, beaten only by the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

The spectacular success of the Titanic attraction was celebrated as the milestone one-millionth visitor stepped through its doors yesterday.

It took just over a year for the Titanic centre to hit the target, and it's now just behind the long-established Guinness Storehouse.

The prominent feature on the city's skyline has now exceeded all expectations and is now easily Northern Ireland's top visitor destination after overtaking the Giant's Causeway.

Millionth visitor, mother-of-two Ciara Harmon from Co Kildare, brought husband John and children Nicole (16) and Aaron (12) with her to cut the cake and smash the record number.

Chief executive of Titanic Belfast, Tim Husbands, welcomed the Harmon family to the centre.

He said he was very pleased to break another record.

"Our target for year one was 425,000 visitors so we achieved that and had 800,000 by the end of the first year.

"It's a massive return into the local economy, around £29m estimated in year one from international tourists."

But for the millionth family who wanted to explore the Titanic story after their son's 12-year-old's school project – the flashing lights and attention from the Press transformed a vacation up North into a media frenzy.

Mrs Harmon added: "It's unbelievable, such a great surprise and a wonderful experience."

FACTFILE

* Since opening on March 31, 2012, Titanic Belfast has welcomed one million visitors

* 72% of visitors are from out of state (non-Northern Ireland residents)

* More than 15,600 bottles of Titanic beer have been sold between March 31, 2012 and July 30, 2013

* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a surprise visit in June during his trip to the G8 summit

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