Belfast Telegraph

Belfast council follows up £60k trip to Cannes with visit to Riviera expo

By John Mulgrew

A delegation from Belfast City Council is being sent to the French Riviera for the second time next year, following a £60,000 visit in March.

The council sent seven representatives as part of a joint public-private sector trade mission to the glamorous beach resort of Cannes for MIPIM - one of the world's biggest property expos - in a bid to attract major investors to the city.

Now, the council is tendering for next year's event, and said it remains "committed" to sending another delegation to the event hosted in the playground of the rich and famous.

A spokeswoman for Belfast City Council said: "Belfast City Council is committed to leading a Belfast consortium, made up of private sector, public sector and education representatives amongst others, to attend MIPIM in 2017.

"Details for next year's event are still being developed and will be made public when finalised.

"Following Brexit, the need for city regions to market themselves and attract investment and potential employers has never been greater.

"With most other major cities competing for investment present at MIPIM - such as Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield - it is vital that Belfast has a strong presence to promote itself in a proactive and positive way with a view to securing investment that will help ensure the economic growth of our city and the region." In March, seven council staff formed part of a 50-strong delegation during the first trip to the trade show since the property crash.

They stayed at the two-star Hotel Esperanto in the resort town for five nights - with costs covered by ratepayers. The rest of the funding for the trip came from the 30 local businesses involved.

Those participating this year included McAleer and Rushe, as well as other major local developers.

The council said the aim of the trip was to attract £1bn of investment to Belfast over the next five years and the creation of 30,000 jobs. The council was campaigning and selling Belfast based on a range of areas, including low corporation tax.

Speaking ahead of the trip earlier this year, chief executive Suzanne Wylie said: "Belfast's reputation as a leading hub for foreign direct investment and technology, alongside our world-class pool of talent, our low rate of corporation tax from April 2018 and a wealth of other opportunities for international investors, means that the city's attractiveness as a place to invest is only going to grow.

"We believe that a target of £1bn of investment and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs is within our reach.

"We can transform the city and move it on to a new level to be competitive on a global stage."

Belfast Telegraph