Tourism boss upbeat as Belfast hosts forum on business travel
Event planners from around the UK have been attending an industry summit in Belfast.
The three-day 2019 Conference and Incentive Travel (C&IT) Summit and Agency Forum finishes today at ICC Belfast.
Organisations taking part in the event control a combined annual spend of £2.85bn in the industry.
It's the first time the event has been held in Belfast - and only the second time that it's been held outside London during its 15-year history.
The event was secured for Belfast by Visit Belfast, Tourism NI, ICC Belfast, Titanic Belfast and Hastings Hotels. The Hastings Grand Central Hotel in Bedford Street in the city centre is the host hotel for the event.
Organisers said Belfast hosting the event was a "major coup" in the business tourism marketplace. John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, said: "Business tourism is a key priority for the future growth of tourism in Northern Ireland due to the fact it can deliver higher-spending visitors and shoulder off-season activity, so the decision by C&IT to choose Belfast for this pivotal event is a real vote of confidence in the city.
"The delegates are being treated to a world-class welcome and excellent experiences and we are already receiving great feedback about Belfast as a conference destination.
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"Last year tourism welcomed five million visitors, contributing £968m to the local economy, and I am confident the business tourism sector will help us to achieve further growth as we continue to work closely with key partners and stakeholders to collectively promote NI as a destination of choice for the meetings industry."