Plans for a £10m aquarium which is expected to attract 300,000 visitors annually have been announced for Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.
The proposed marine life facility, which is being developed by UK-based ReefLIVE Ltd, will be located at Queen’s Road, and subject to planning approval, will open in spring 2021.
ReefLIVE says that the decision to open an aquarium in Northern Ireland stems from the “rising tide of public interest in marine life”.
A spokesperson for ReefLIVE Ltd said: “ReefLIVE’s Belfast Aquarium has been designed as an aquarium for the 21st century and will place the visitor at the heart of the marine environment to give them a unique insight into the amazing stories of life beneath the waves.
“As part of our work, establishing solid partnerships with educational institutions will be of utmost importance to us at all phases of the facility’s programme development.”
“Once open, the aquarium will be the largest ocean visitor attraction on the island of Ireland. It is expected to attract more than 300,000 people each year and help to boost the length of each tourist visit to the city.
“Belfast has become one of the UK’s leading hubs for such family friendly experiences and we see the city as a thriving tourism destination. We are confident in our decision to choose Belfast over other top UK cities for our first investment of this kind.”
Brian Kelly, a director at the project’s planning consultants, Turley, added: “This substantial investment will support the ongoing development of the area as a distinguished tourism destination.”
ReefLIVE is led by a management team with over 40 years of experience in designing, building and managing world-class aquarium attractions.
A pre-application community consultation drop-in event for this ReefLIVE Aquarium proposal will be held on August 20 at the Titanic Hotel (3-8pm). It is expected that a planning application will be submitted to Belfast City Council in early October 2019.