23/07/2009

Belfast 'Twelfth' Was Shopping Hit

Initial feedback on the commercial impact of Belfast shops being open over the traditional 'Twelfth' celebration has been excellent.

This year's event, titled 'Orangefest' on 13 July witnessed Belfast city centre shops opening on the day of the parades for the first time.

Belfast City Centre Management facilitated a partnership, supported by Belfast City Council through the Peace III 'City of Festivals Programme', which saw Orangefest and Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce organise a programme of world class street entertainment.

According to City Centre Manager, Andrew Irvine, and Councillor William Humphrey, Chairman of Belfast City Council's Development committee.

"Castlecourt Shopping Centre reported footfall numbers equal to a good Thursday evening and city centre restaurants had to operate waiting lists for tables," Mr Irvine said.

"An initial small survey of members of the public attending the Street Entertainment shows also reported very high satisfaction levels - with 98% intending to return next year.

"All in all, this represents an excellent result and provides a sound underpinning of the joint strategy developed by Orangefest and Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce."

Councillor William Humphrey also welcomed the move to support the city centre traders: "It was wonderful to see families being attracted in to the city and enjoying the full programme of events planned," he said.

"This clearly has been good for traders, good for Belfast and good for the Orange tradition. In this scenario, everyone is a winner."

Also, according to the survey findings, many 'new' people were attracted in with 62% of those questioned having never having been in the city centre on the 12th or 13th before.

(BMcC)

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