30/03/2016

New Council-Owned Company To Take Over Belfast Waterfront

A new council-owned company will take over the daily running of Belfast Waterfront from Friday 01 April.

Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd is a new "arm's length company" and will be responsible for the operation and commercial growth of the venue, along with the Ulster Hall, on behalf of Belfast City Council, which will continue to own both buildings.

The handover comes as the newly expanded venue prepares to open for business in just over a month's time, following a £29.5 million investment from the council, Tourism Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund, through the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, will officially open the new facilities on Friday 29 April, with the first business event - the NI Chamber Champions Dinner 2016 - taking place on Wednesday 4 May, ahead of the first major conference - the annual International Surgical Congress of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) - on 11-13 May.
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"This is good news for both Belfast Waterfront and ratepayers, as it puts the venue in the best position possible to achieve our ambition to transform Belfast into a major destination for international business tourism," explained Councillor Brian Kennedy, Chair of the Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd Shareholders Committee.

"Commercial flexibility is essential in competing with other cities to attract the biggest and best events to Belfast, and ensuring that we fully maximise the potential of this investment to be a major stepping stone in the city's development."

Ellvena Graham, Chair of the new Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd Board, said staff were looking forward to welcoming the first delegates to the new look facilities, which have doubled in size to host up to 5,000 visitors at a time.

"This is the start of an exciting new chapter in Belfast Waterfront's history, and both the board and employees of Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd are hugely excited about the journey ahead," she said.

"With over 20,000 people expected through our doors in the first six months of opening, and more than 30 national and international events already on our books for the first three years, we are confident of creating a fantastic experience for our customers which really sells Belfast to the rest of the world and helps reaffirm the Waterfront as a key driver in the city's economic growth."

(MH)

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