Charting the record-breaking 10 year voyage of Titanic Belfast
Since opening 10 years ago Titanic Belfast has generated an estimated £430 million in direct spend for the Northern Ireland economy.
A special breakfast event to mark the visitor attraction’s 10th birthday took place yesterday, toasting the many successes of the venue which was named World’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2016.
Chief executive of Titanic Belfast Judith Owens said: “We did a survey before Covid and one in five people who are coming to the island of Ireland came specifically to see Titanic Belfast.
“Post-Covid we can see that momentum starting to gain as well. We’re very positive we will be able to return to pre-Covid numbers of international visitors over the next couple of years.”
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Of the role Titanic Belfast has played in boosting Northern Ireland’s economy, she said: “The £430 million, whilst it is an amazing figure, it’s actually much smaller than the actual impact that Titanic Belfast has had on this city and on Northern Ireland.
“It doesn’t include all of the other economic impact Titanic Belfast has had over the last 10 years – the likes of employment, the 1,233 suppliers we have partnered with, the 3,000 events we have delivered here.”
Titanic Belfast was opened in 2012 by the Queen and Prince Philip and just last week their son Prince Charles and Camilla paid a visit.
Judith said: “Celebrities have come in their droves, from Adele, Michael Buble, and also two favourites – Liam Neeson and Rod Stewart, who I must say are Titanoraks. They’ve been here two or three times.”
To mark its 10th birthday, Titanic Belfast, which to date has welcomed almost 6.5 million visitors from over 145 countries, has embarked on its largest single investment to date, a multi-million pound gallery refreshment programme.
Marie-Therese McGivern, chair of Maritime Belfast Trust, said they were a lot of “naysayers” when the of idea of a Titanic visitor attraction was first floated.
She added: “Titanic Belfast was forecast to deliver just over 400,000 visitors in 2012, but in it’s first year it welcomed over 800,000. The annual projections have been smashed year on year ever since with the exception of our last two difficult years.”
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said that as well as telling the story on the Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage the tourist attraction also tells the story of Belfast and its people: “We’re able to tell the story not only of those who were here in the past, but also we’re able to speak about who we are today and what it is we’re trying to do.
“We’re able to show the world the continued resilience, determination and ingenuity of our people.”