Titanic Belfast beats Eiffel Tower, Colosseum and Buckingham Palace as Europe's leading visitor attraction
Titanic Belfast has become the first attraction in Northern Ireland to be crowned Europe's Leading Visitor Attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards.
The event known as the Tourism Oscars, was held in Sardinia, Italy on Sunday night.
Titanic Belfast fought off stiff competition for the top spot from the Acropolis, Athens, Buckingham Palace, England, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, La Sagrada Familia, Spain, Ribeira do Porto, Portugal, The Eiffel Tower, France and The Roman Colosseum, Italy.
Titanic Belfast Chief Executive, Tim Husbands MBE said it was an "honour" to have won the award after just four years in operation.
He said: “We know what we offer at Titanic Belfast is something our city and country can be proud of and are so please that this is has been recognised on an international level. We are looking forward to welcoming the national and international visitors that this award will attract to Belfast and Northern Ireland.
"We would like to thank everyone who has supported and voted for us.”
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “In just four short years, Titanic Belfast has become an iconic tourist attraction, attracting over three million visitors from all over the world. Titanic Belfast is now a global brand which has put Northern Ireland on the map for all the right reasons so last night’s official confirmation that it is now Europe’s leading tourist attraction is well deserved."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Titanic Belfast being voted Europe’s leading visitor attraction is a phenomenal achievement. The story of the Titanic is known around the globe and it is only right and proper we have a world class visitor attraction to match."
Since opening in 2012, Titanic Belfast has established itself as a world-class attraction on the local, national and international stage, and continues to go from strength to strength.
Last month, it welcomed its three-millionth visitor, having once again exceeded visitor number expectations. This milestone came during a record-breaking August, as the visitor attraction experienced its busiest day to date. The visitor experience has also experienced significant growth from France, Germany, USA and China year to date.
The award adds to Titanic Belfast accolades as it was recently included in Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travelist of 500 of the world's most striking locations, featuring everything from imposing temples to hidden gems, after only a few years in operation.
Tourism NI have said they are "extremely proud" of the success of Titanic Belfast.
Chief Executive John McGrillen said: "My colleagues and I at Tourism NI are extremely proud of the achievements of Titanic Belfast over the past four years and of the professionalism, creativity and energy of the staff who run the attraction on a daily basis.
"I congratulate Tim and his team on achieving this latest accolade and I have every confidence that Titanic Belfast will remain at the heart of our tourism industry for decades to come. Tourism NI and its forerunner, NITB, played a key role in the development of Titanic Belfast.
"The Titanic Belfast team has exceeded our expectations in terms of creating a step change for tourism in Northern Ireland and a catalyst for wider economic growth in Belfast and beyond."
Titanic Belfast fun facts
- It’s not the first time Titanic Belfast has stolen the top spot from the Eiffel Tower as it was named Europe’s Best Tourist Attraction for Groups at the European Group Travel Awards last year.
- In four and half years, it has welcomed 3 million visitors from over 145 countries.
- Since opening it has welcomed Her Majesty The Queen, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, TITANIC director James Cameron, the discovery of Titanic, Dr Robert Ballard, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and, as well as celebrities including Adele and Michael Bublé, to name a few.
- It had its busiest day to date this August.
- It can hold over 3,547 visitors at any one time, the same number as the capacity of Titanic
- Since opening, it has sold 338,000 postcards and more than 20,000 Titanic snow globes