Belfast Telegraph

City council bidding for lucrative Indian event

By Margaret Canning

Belfast could be in the running to host a major Indian business conference next year costing £200,000.

Organisers of the Global India Business Conference approached Belfast City Council and Invest NI to invite them to bid for the event, according to the council.

The event allows hundreds of Indian and European business leaders to discuss how to increase trade between the regions.

In an agenda for its development committee - which last night voted in favour of bidding to host the conference in Belfast - the council said: "By agreeing to co-host this event, Belfast would be pitching to a highly valuable network of leading private sector companies from India, capable of considering new operations or joint ventures with local firms."

According to the council, Invest NI has agreed "in principle" to provide half the £200,000 cost of hosting the event.

The decision by the committee now has to be ratified by a full meeting of Belfast City Council.

The council statement added: "There is a vast untapped potential to benefit much more from strengthening and deepening relationships between Belfast and India as part of international relations currently under review but also specifically for Belfast to work alongside Invest NI more closely in future in helping attract new investment to this area."

The development committee also voted in favour of sending three representatives to bid for next year's Global India Business Conference at this year's event in Antwerp, Belgium, at a cost of £785 per person.

Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Belfast Visitor -amp; Convention Bureau - which is tasked with attracting association conferences to Belfast - said: "Business tourism is an extremely important market for Belfast and international conferences and events such as this provide additional marketing opportunities to promote the city to even bigger audiences worldwide."