Belfast Telegraph

Trade shows on the move from historic King's Hall to new Titanic Quarter conference centre

Exclusive: Major shows relocating to unbuilt Titanic exhibition centre

By John Mulgrew

Some of Belfast's biggest and most lucrative trade shows are set to move from their former King's Hall home to a new conference centre in the Titanic Quarter, it can be revealed.

The big annual shows - many of which draw more than 10,000 visitors - are due to relocate from the historic south Belfast site to the temporary exhibition centre.

That will include Improve Your Home, which was due to run at the King's Hall in October, and the Holiday World expo in January.

It's relocating the existing Lisburn Road King's Hall pavilion to the former Maze prison site near Lisburn.

Now plans for a 6,000 sq m Titanic Exhibition Centre are being prepared in the hope the temporary site at Queen's Road will be ready by the autumn.

One of the first events due to move in will be the Wedding Journal Show - which is expected draw around 10,000 visitors to the new centre in September.

The details of the plans were unveiled as part of a 'transport statement' prepared for the exhibition centre - outlining how it will handle the thousands of visitors set to descend on the area.

But planning permission still has to be granted to allow the latest development in the Titanic Quarter to go ahead.

It says the temporary centre is "predicted to hold approximately 14 events per year".

A number of other events are provisionally listed to be hosted at the development.

Another big event is set to be the Self Build expo, which is expected to take place in February.

A spokesperson for Titanic Quarter said: "The Titanic Exhibition Centre (TEC) will be Belfast's largest, dedicated city-centre event space.

"Its scale will enable the city to attract new consumer, lifestyle and trade events as well as providing a home for large, well-established events.

"Event organisers have shown strong interest in the proposed Titanic Exhibition Centre, with 14 provisional bookings already received. The first planned event is the Wedding Journal Show in September."

Theresa Morrissey, King's Hall Complex finance and commercial director, told the Belfast Telegraph it was "making a substantial investment to develop Balmoral Park as the premier regional exhibition venue".

"Our experienced events team is committed to working with current King's Hall Complex exhibition and event organisers to ensure the successful transfer of their business to the new venue," she said.

"We are also in negotiations to bring new and exciting events to Northern Ireland which will be beneficial to the events industry and local economy. Full details of the new exhibition space and upcoming events will be unveiled in the near future."

Clive Corry, a director of Self Build Ireland - which runs both the Self Build and Improve Your Home trade shows, said he was "enthusiastic" about the new location.

"The sort of events we run, there are a lot of visitors and infrastructure - they do need space around them, and this new venue will do that," he said.

"We are enthusiastic about the potential it offers."

Belfast Telegraph