You can’t move forward by just turning your back on the past

If you've got a good story and a unique place in history surely you should keep it alive?
If you've got a good story and a unique place in history surely you should keep it alive?

I know, I know, there’s problems and there are real problems and we seem to have a few of those at the moment.

But, while we deal with our collective disbelief (or not) at the latest developments in our so-called political system and Lawrence Kenwright puts together a bid to turn Stormont into something useful, let’s talk about heritage, tourism and the economy - none of which seem to interest our elected representatives.

Hard to imagine now but, just six years ago, a room of nervous, doubtful or just plain sceptical people sat and listened to the universally respected travel journalist and writer Simon Calder give his verdict on Titanic Belfast prior to its opening.

Time and tragey equal tourism, he told us, adding that the building was a total triumph in his opinion.

For good or bad, Titanic belonged to Belfast and, if we didn’t seize the opportunity, we would be letting down the province as a whole.

Now, as an 80-strong delegation returns from its third visit to the MIPIM international investment conference in Cannes, we continue to attract investment from a position of greater strength than even Mr Calder might have envisaged.

Mr Kenwright, of George Best Hotel fame, grabbed headlines by announcing his plan to restore Belfast’s famous Floral Hall, but the business department notes a bit of history that’s being quietly dumped in the adjacent Lagan - off its ‘east bank’ apparently.

The self-taught Samuel Cleland Davidson devised the principles of air conditioning and revolutionised the tea industry with machinery produced at the Sirocco Works which is still in use today.

Just ask Ross and David Thompson down the road in Carnforth Street who blend tea produced with it every day at Punjana.

Bordered by the river, Short Strand and Bridge End at the foot of the Newtownards Road, the massive site is finally primed to come back to life after the crash - and has been renamed... Waterside; sound familiar?

As the MIPIM delegation returns after working hard to promote the city’s unique character and heritage, why on earth - and especialy in Belfast - would you not want to stand out to investors and celebrate that history?