Five-day business conference will generate £2.3 million for the city
The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) is hosting its 55th annual international conference at ICC Belfast, bringing together approximately 2,000 international delegates.
The conference, which is one of the largest global events in the English language teaching calendar, will also deliver £2.3m in economic impact for the city.
Jon Burton, chief executive at IATEFL, said: “It’s fantastic to host our 55th international conference in Belfast. As one of the main events in the English Language Teaching calendar our event is attended by thousands of professionals from more than 100 countries, and the five-day programme boasts an array of talks, workshops and forums as well as a vibrant social programme.
“ICC Belfast is perfectly placed to accommodate our programme needs, whilst the city lends a vibrant backdrop for trainers, theorists, practising teachers and more professionals from right across the industry to come together and exchange ideas and experiences.”
As conferencing makes a stable return, following two years of uncertainty, walkable cities with good transport links, a strong hospitality offering and world-class venues like ICC Belfast are primed to support the ambition of organisations such as IATEFL. Business events are a critical driver in Belfast’s tourism and economic recovery post-Covid.
Julia Corkey, chief executive at ICC Belfast, explained: “We’re very proud to welcome IATEFL to Belfast for this five-day conference and look forward to hosting 2000 delegates from across the world. Business events have the potential to become a reliable economic driver as Tourism NI’s Integrated Strategy for Business Events which launched earlier this year showcases.
“Now that the conferencing and events industry is back to full capacity, ICC Belfast, has quickly re- emerged as an attractive and viable venue for the sector. We are responsible for hosting a large number of Northern Ireland’s business events and so are a key contributor to the economy, attracting thousands of business travellers to the city week on week, and supporting the city’s many jobs in hospitality retail, and transport.”
ICC Belfast is Belfast’s only purpose-built conference centre. Following a £29.5m extension funded by Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and the European Regional Development Fund, the 7,000m 2 venue was officially opened in 2016.
The IATFL Conference at ICC Belfast has been supported by the Belfast and Northern Ireland Conference Support Scheme. The scheme funded by Belfast City Council and Tourism NI and administered by Visit Belfast provides support to eligible associations to host conference and meetings in Belfast and Northern Ireland and further enhance the profile of the region as a business events destination.
Other conferences and events in the pipeline in the summer months include Harkin International Disability Employment Summit in June and the Intensive Care Society State of the Art Congress in July – which combined will deliver an estimated economic impact of over £3m.
Visit Belfast’s chief executive, Gerry Lennon, added: “Business events and conferences generate crucial mid-week, year-round demand to our venues, hotels and hospitality sector, so we’re delighted that with support from our colleagues in Belfast City Council and Tourism NI, that we were able to secure this significant event for the city with ICC Belfast.
“We have worked incredibly hard to ensure that events and conferences in Belfast contribute to the growth and development of the city. Those efforts and multi-millions of pounds of investment by the sector have elevated the City’s reputation in the global meetings and events marketplace whilst having the unique ability to showcase the amazing, world-leading skills, knowledge and innovation that exist here, putting the city and region on the map as an exciting place to visit, exchange ideas, do business and invest in.”
Joanne Taylor, business solutions officer at Tourism NI, concluded: “We are delighted to welcome 2,000 international delegates to Northern Ireland this week for the IATEFL 55th Annual Conference at ICC Belfast. As a world class venue for business events, ICC Belfast is a crucial partner, along with Visit Belfast, in our plan to rebuild the sector and we look forward to working collaboratively with them as business events return. I wish all conference delegates an enjoyable stay here and we hope you return again soon.”