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Executive Summary - Belfast City Council

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www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism


Meet the new Belfast

- hip, historical, happening.

Lonely Planet


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

Working in partnership, Belfast will deliver the

authentic European city experience by developing

and co-ordinating our cultural, natural and

commercial assets to attract a greater number of

visitors to the city and maximise the economic

benefits for Belfast and Northern Ireland.

3


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

Belfast as a city was a triumph over mud and water, the

dream of successive generations of merchants, engineers,

and entrepreneurs willed into being. They had had to build the

land before they could work it. Dredging, scouring, banking,

consolidating, they fashioned a city in their own image: dry

docks, graving docks, ships, cranes, kilns, silos: industry

from their industry, solidity from morass, leaving an indelible

imprint on the unpromising slobland, and their names driven

like screwpiles into the city’s sense of itself. Dargan, Dunbar,

Workman, Wolff, Harland...

4

Glenn Patterson, Fat Lad (Chatto and Windus, 1992)


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

Belfast is a thriving, vibrant, creative city - one which in recent years

has changed and developed, yet retained many of the marks of a

unique history. Belfast’s economy has blossomed and its landscape has

been reshaped. The city centre, anchored by the grandeur of the City

Hall, boasts distinctive cultural venues, attractive public space, retail

excellence, a wide choice of accommodation from budget to opulent,

world cuisine and a thriving night-life.

Iconic venues like the Ulster Hall, Grand Opera House, Ulster Museum,

Crescent Arts Centre and Lyric Theatre have been refurbished while the

Cathedral Quarter and Queen’s Quarter offer authentic, exciting cultural hubs

and highlight Belfast’s artistic pedigree. The River Lagan empties out into

Belfast Lough at the docks, where significant investment and development is

remaking the Titanic Quarter and our new Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.

Elsewhere, all areas of the city attract visitors like never before. Féile,The West

Belfast Festival and venues like An Culturlann and the Spectrum Centre bring

the diverse histories of the west of the city to life. East Belfast draws devotees

of the Titanic, CS Lewis and Van Morrison alike, while over 200,000 visitors a

year wind their way through historic north Belfast to the panoramic views from

Belfast Castle and Belfast Zoo.

The confident, changing Belfast has become a destination for tourists from

around the globe. Visitors are discovering a flourishing cultural scene combined

with a unique heritage in a city transformed. A city has emerged where history

is all around you; where legacy and tradition live on in the stories; where

the sharp humour and vibrant creativity people come to life. It has become

a gateway through which visitors go on to experience the rest of Northern

Ireland, and the whole of the island of Ireland.

Over the next few years, it is vital that we build on the momentum achieved so

far. We need to offer more to our visitors as well as increasing visitor numbers,

visitor spend and the length of time visitors stay in Belfast. We want the people of

the city to share in the economic, cultural and social benefits that tourism brings.


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

WHY

TOURISM?

Despite the global downturn, tourism is still the

fastest-growing global economic sector. Attracting

visitors to Belfast (and to Northern Ireland) benefits

every citizen. Tourism boosts the economy, provides

jobs and opportunities, brings new facilities to

communities across the city and, perhaps most

importantly of all, is a source of communal pride.

Visitors to the city, and to the rest of Northern

Ireland, take with them a perception of Belfast

and its people. It is vital that their experiences of

Belfast’s life, culture, places and people, are positive,

fulfilling and authentic. In this way, visitors become

advocates for the city across the globe.

6

CURRENT

PERFORMANCE

Belfast attracts visitors from around the world, but

the domestic market is equally important. In 2009,

Belfast attracted 1.7 million overnight visitors, 7.6

million day visitors and 64,000 cruise passengers.

Latest figures suggest that these visits generate £451

million per year for the local economy and support

around 10,000 jobs in greater Belfast. Belfast has

an important role as the gateway to Northern Ireland

and the rest of Ireland generating additional revenue,

spend and economic regeneration.

Over three-quarters of day trip visits are made by

Northern Irish residents, while visitors from the

Republic of Ireland account for just over half of the

number of overnight visits. The global financial crisis,

and problems closer to home in both the British

and Irish economies, have affected visitor numbers;

however city tourism in Western Europe is expected

to expand more quickly than the overall travel market

in the coming years. Belfast’s challenge is to benefit

from this expansion, attracting more visitors from

Great Britain, Europe and destinations further afield,

while strengthening domestic performance.


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

STRATEGIC

CONTEXT

Belfast Tourism: Gateway to the Future Strategic

Framework takes advantage of the regeneration and

rebirth of the city in recent years, Belfast’s unique

city scape, history and people, the growth in the city

tourism sector, and high levels of ambition for the

city’s future.

Our aspiration is that Belfast will be recognised as

a leading tourism destination, with delivery driven

through a partnership of organisations, institutions

and businesses across the whole city committed

to positioning Belfast among the top twenty city

destinations in Europe. Achievement of this ambition

will, in turn, benefit all of Northern Ireland.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s

draft Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020

identifies a tourism growth strategy for Northern

Ireland. The framework is recognised by the

Department of Trade and Investment as the vehicle for

delivering the Northern Ireland strategy locally.

In our cultural and our

historical understanding the

very words ‘Linen Hall Library’

represents not just books, but

better hopes for the way we

live. For a just, civilised and

inclusive society

Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney

8

IN THE

LEAD

The main organisations responsible for the

development and implementation of the tourism

framework are:

Belfast City Council,

• Northern Ireland Tourist Board, and

Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The vision for this integrated framework is for

Belfast City Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist

Board and the Belfast Visitor and Convention

Bureau to work together to co-ordinate our cultural,

natural and commercial assets to attract a greater

number of visitors to the city. This vision is also a

sustainable one, meeting the needs of tourists and

local communities today, while ensuring that future

development is also a priority.

ENGAGEMENT

The framework was developed in consultation with

private sector, statutory agencies and communities

across the City. Engagement from all parts of the

City has been strong. The full framework is available

on www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

9


A world-class city needs a

heart full of culture…and that’s

exactly what Belfast has got!


KEY

DESTINATIONS

It is vital that we make the most of Belfast’s unique

heritage and powerful cultural assets. Existing

local place destinations must be promoted in an

innovative, exciting and consistent manner, while

new products and destinations must be developed.

Belfast cannot stand still. Some of the key

destinations in the city are:

The CiTy CenTre

An attractive mixture of quality retail, engaging public

space, and a range of cultural venues including

the Ulster Hall, Grand Opera House, The Limelight,

Ormeau Baths Gallery and the grandeur of the City

Hall. A number of new hotels have recently opened

in the city centre. Some investment has taken place

in the evening and Sunday economy, but there is still

a great need for more imagination and development

here including café culture. Belfast City Centre

Management will be a key partner in delivery.

The Lagan river

MariTiMe Corridor

The waterfront has seen considerable change

over the last decade, with the Waterfront Hall, the

Odyssey Arena, the more recent MV Confiance and

the scenic Lagan towpath presenting major, differing

attractions and new opportunities. More animation

and water based events will open this area further.

Queen’s QuarTer

Queen’s University, Botanic Gardens and the Ulster

Museum anchor this area of the city, which also

includes a number of other cultural venues including

the refurbished Lyric Theatre, Queen’s Film Theatre,

Crescent Arts Centre and a range of bars, clubs and

restaurants. This is one of the city’s liveliest areas,

but the presentation of areas within it needs be

improved. There is a need for a greater co-ordination

and integration between attractions, venues and

natural assets.

BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

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11

CaThedraL QuarTer

Close to the city centre, the Cathedral Quarter has

the greatest number of cultural venues across all

art forms, and the opening of the MAC in 2012 will

provide the area with a new theatre and additional art

gallery. St Anne’s Cathedral, the Black Box, a range

of new hotels, regular international festivals and a

host of bars and restaurants make this a prominent

destination for locals and tourists alike.

TiTaniC QuarTer

This is an area with huge promise, but one which

also presents major challenges. At present, the area

is largely undeveloped, yet there are a number of

attractions that offer great potential to turn this into a

visitor destination.

These include:

• Titanic Belfast,

• Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House,

• HMS Caroline, SS Nomadic and Hamilton Dock,

• the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and

Headquarters,

• the Harland & Wolff cranes, and

• Titanic and Olympic shipways

Major investment is required to link all of these

elements together on site in order to deliver a

seamless experience for visitors.


My city had tall buildings, giant

cranes, a downtown, parks,

an estuary, highways, noise,

smoke and purpose. This was a

picture worthy of any book. And

the view just gets better.

Barry Douglas


EMERGING

DESTINATIONS

The key destinations must act as a gateway to

other attractions and communities within the city.

New and emerging destinations offer opportunities

to grow the tourism offer and spread the benefits

of tourism across the city. This will require the

establishment of partnerships with local communities

and stakeholders, better and integrated information

for visitors, enhanced public transport links and

common product development. Some of these

destinations are:

BeLfasT hiLLs

Featuring Belfast Castle, Divis and Black Mountain,

McArt’s Fort and the Zoo, Belfast Hills are a

major asset for the city. Few cities have an area

of such outstanding natural beauty so close to

the city centre. A strategic overview and effective

partnerships between key stakeholders are required

to fully realise this area’s visitor potential.

gaeLTaChT QuarTer

From the city centre to Andersonstown in the west,

the historic Falls Road winds its way through one of

Belfast’s most distinctive communities. This area is

key to understanding Belfast’s history, and is centred

on Irish language and culture. From taxi tours to An

Culturlann to the West Belfast Festival, the Gaeltacht

Quarter already offers important visitor experiences,

but there is still more to be made of the area’s history

and culture, and developing the night-time economy

remains a challenge.

The shankiLL QuarTer

This area is also of vital importance to the story of

Belfast, but more understanding and promotion

of the Shankill’s history is required. The Spectrum

Centre is an important cultural centre and a tourist

information point, but the area as a whole faces

similar challenges to the Gaeltacht Quarter in

becoming a consistent visitor attraction.

BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

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LisBurn road

This charismatic area offers distinctive shopping

and leisure experiences with a range of independent

boutiques selling local and global brands, delis,

bars, coffee shops and restaurants. The challenge

is to preserve the unique and diverse range of

independent businesses in the locality.

norTh BeLfasT

CuLTuraL Corridor

North Belfast is home to some of the city’s most

important and interesting sites, yet extensive

development is required to fully realise the area’s

tourism potential. Crumlin Road Gaol, Clifton Street

Orange Hall, the Indian Community Centre, and

the literary and cultural history of St Malachy’s

school and the Cliftonville Road area all require

development, integrated promotion or investment.

The ConnswaTer

CoMMuniTy greenway

This is an opportunity to draw tourists to east Belfast

and the Castlereagh Hills, and is another area of

‘countryside within the city’ which is one of the

distinctive features of Belfast. More consideration of

how the local roots of iconic cultural figures like CS

Lewis and Van Morrison can be used to bring visitors

to the area is required.


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

FUTURE

DEVELOPMENT

Belfast is a city with a unique character, a

distinctive history and a confident and open

approach to development. How can this be best

utilised to attract more visitors?

Any city is more than just a collection of attractions,

events, arts, entertainment and shopping; more than

just the sum of its parts. Following consideration of

the market opportunities, the quality and character of

Belfast’s physical landscape, its cultural environment

and the overall presentation of the city, six main

projects have been identified which are integral to

promoting Belfast as a unique destination. These are

at varying stages of development. They are:

The BeLfasT sTory

This should run through all tourism product, reflecting

Belfast’s people, places, heritage, culture and arts,

history, conflict and reconciliation. The city’s unique

character and essence must be emphasised, so that

we’re not seen as just ‘another’ regional city. Local

communities will play a key role in telling their story.

MariTiMe heriTage

The Titanic Belfast visitor attraction will be a catalyst

for the exploration of the wider maritime heritage

of the city. Completed in 2012, it aims to attract

400,000 visitors a year, but it must not become an

isolated attraction divorced from its maritime context

and the rest of the city. The city wide maritime

heritage must be interpreted.

14

BeLfasT hiLLs

These provide spectacular views over the city and

draw visitors to north and west Belfast. More access

options to the hills and innovative viewing points can

be developed. There are a number of walking routes,

but more maps, tours and guides for visitors need to

be provided.

The river Lagan

The spine of Belfast connects a number of important

sites, and opens up a number of varied landscapes

and leisure options within easy reach of the city. Yet

more development is required, including opening the

Lagan Corridor as a navigable river and linking to

Lisburn, Lough Neagh and the Ulster Canal.

CruMLin road gaoL

Seasonal tours of the gaol have demonstrated its

potential as a visitor attraction. More than £5million

has been invested in this cultural and historic

asset (to re-open in 2012), however there is further

scope to develop it as a key visitor attraction and

regenerate the immediate area.

ConferenCe and

exhiBiTion CenTre

This is a weakness in Belfast’s infrastructure. Since

opening in 1997, the Waterfront Hall has successfully

generated an estimated £10 for every £1 spent on its

operating costs. In line with market demands, there

is an urgent need for integrated conference and

exhibition facilities in the city to accommodate larger

association conferences and their exhibitors.


The salt rebuff of speech,

Insisting so on difference,

made me welcome:

Once that was recognised,

we were in touch

Philip Larkin

‘The Importance of Elsewhere’


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

DEVELOPING

THE BELFAST

EXPERIENCE

Belfast City Council has made considerable

investment in new products for visitors as well as

developing fresh experiences of the city in many

areas. Innovations such as 72 Hours, Belfast Bred

tour, Belfast Music Exhibition and tours, Literary

Belfast, Late Night Art and Belfast Music Week

have flourished.

Continuous consumer research is required to

identify new consumer trends and offerings from

our competitors to enable Belfast to make informed

decisions about what it should provide more of.

A number of priority areas have already been

identified, including:

• Creative tourism

• Food tourism

• Literary tourism

• Music tourism

• Family tourism

• Living history

• Roots tourism

CuLTure and arTs

Belfast is unusually rich in the quality and variety of

our artists and is home to the finest practitioners

who are receiving awards and acclaim. Animation

in the city can be achieved through investment in

an internationally renowned culture and arts scene

and festivals. Belfast now has over 70 festival

organisations and a wide range of cultural venues

and arts organisations who contribute to a full

calendar throughout the year. Programming will be

enhanced and we will make it easier for visitors to

participate in our cultural offer.

16

evenTs

Belfast continues to host spectacular events such

as the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge, the World Irish

Dancing Championships, European Pipe Band

Championships, the MTV Europe Music Awards

and the forthcoming World Fire and Police Games.

Investment into our events programme is essential

and there is a need to develop events linked to

Belfast’s distinctiveness. Major events provide

a catalyst to drive visitor growth and to provide

platforms for the wider sector to engage and benefit.

green and oPen sPaCes

City parks and open spaces where locals and

visitors can relax are key features of urban tourism

and Belfast offers plenty through its wide variety

of city parks and areas such as the Bog Meadows

and Belfast Hills. It is also home to a diverse range

of wildlife and horticulture, as well as attractions

like Belfast Zoo, Malone House and Belfast Castle.

The North Foreshore presents an opportunity

to expand green spaces and offer recreational

facilities for visitors. These opportunities can offer

more walkways, cycleways, viewing towers, play

areas and festival space. Open spaces need to be

animated through a diverse programme of events.

sPorTs

Many cities benefit from regular sporting events.

Events such as Gaelic football at Casement Park,

Rugby League at Ravenhill, football at Windsor

Park and ice hockey matches in the Odyssey are all

opportunities to promote and package

weekend breaks.


We followed the overgrown

tow-path by the Lagan.

The sunset would deepen

through cinnamon to aubergine,

the wood-pigeon’s concerto for

oboe and strings,

allegro, blowing your mind.

Paul Muldoon from ‘Gathering Mushrooms’


The scene at the moment

is incredible….When the

spotlight is thrown on Belfast,

people see just how robust

and vibrant the scene is at the

moment. Long may it last

Gary Lightbody

Snow Patrol


Belfast is one of the great

musical cities. Our immersion

in music is total and our

festivals rock. Therefore we

have every confidence is

inviting all music lovers to

check us out, in person, in the

very centre of it.

Stuart Bailie

Oh Yeah!


MAXIMISING

ASSETS

In addition to all of Belfast’s attractions, key projects

and developments, there are a number of essential

actions which will further promote the essence

of Belfast.

• We must promote and protect Belfast’s built and

natural heritage.

• A variety of places to visit must be developed

across the whole city.

• We must ensure Belfast city centre is vibrant and

safe, with a range of quality facilities.

• The city’s public spaces must be enhanced, and

the connections between them improved.

• More investment in sustainable public transport

links is required.

• We need to utilise art to tell the Belfast story and

stimulate both the visitor and citizen’s interest in

local areas.

• A city-wide ‘greenways strategy’ should be

developed to improve connections between the city

centre and other city neighbourhoods.

• We must encourage more retail development in the

city centre and independent retail across the city.

BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

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You walk around Smithfield in my dream

On Christian name terms with the owners

Of old clothes stalls, second hand bookshops,

Drifting between thrift and nostalgia…

Michael Longley, ‘The Rag Trade’,

The Echo Gate (Secker & Warburg, 1979)

21


Eat your way around Belfast - it’ll confound your prejudices and

open your eyes to the delights of one of the UK’s grandest cities.

Sheila Dillon, Radio 4


BUILDING THE

BELFAST BRAND

City and regional brands have been strengthened

and developed for Belfast and Northern Ireland. A

positive, unique, strong image is important for brand

recognition and positioning. Building the brand

experience through the distinctive strength of product

and place will present compelling reasons to visit.

The Northern Ireland brand is in harmony with

Belfast. Its core message is Northern Ireland

‘Confidently moving on,’ supported by the twin

themes of ‘Experience our awakening’ and ‘Uncover

our stories.’

The Belfast Brand is a city in which ‘a unique history

and a future full of promise have come to create a

city bursting with energy and optimism.’

The ambitions of the strategic framework can only be

met if a successful marketing strategy and plan are

implemented to communicate the vision and brand

strength. The key marketing objectives are to:

• position Belfast as a ‘must visit’ authentic

European city;

• place Belfast as a leading business tourism

destination with top quality facilities;

• associate Belfast with top class events on a yearround

basis; and

• portray Belfast as convenient and welcoming.

BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

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23

Belfast has a number of competitive advantages

over many other cities in Britain and Ireland, but also

faces a number of challenges in a marketing context.

These challenges include the global economic

downturn, changing air access routes, a crowded

market place for European city breaks, and concerns

over safety and security.

Traditional marketing methods for tourism are

decreasing in importance. Belfast is a young

dynamic city, but this is not mirrored in its use of

new technology or its online profile on Facebook,

YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. There is an absence of

RSS feeds, social bookmarks, blogs and podcasts

linked to destination sites. All of these add to the

dynamism of the city and its attraction as a vibrant

destination. It is the linkages into and through online

and new media which are increasingly critical for

Belfast and much future focus will be placed on

getting a high profile and effective global presence

– not just from promotional bodies but from the

industry and our visitors.

For over 50 years the Lyric

has been an indispensable

part of Northern Ireland’s

cultural heritage,

empowering, inspiring,

engaging and entertaining.

Liam Neeson OBE


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

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MARKETING

STRATEGY

The key aims of the initial marketing strategy are to:

• increase the number, length of stay and spend

of visitors;

• expand the number of conferences and meetings;

• attract more visitors from the Republic of Ireland

and Great Britain;

• grow the level of stay-over and day visits, including

cruise visits;

• expand the short break market from other

European countries; and

• expand the city’s share of overseas tourism visitors.

There are a number of different market segments

which require different approaches:

Business TourisM

Improved conference facilities are a priority, but as

this may not be realised in the short-term, Belfast’s

competitiveness will be improved through the growth

of a conference development fund, expanding

the Belfast Business Ambassador Programme,

maximizing opportunities from secured conferences,

as well as a focus on quality service.

desTinaTion Leisure TourisM

This is short-break city destination and most value

is achieved when the visitor uses the city as a base

to explore. Key marketing needs are a range of

accommodation, attractive tourism product, and

effective communication through all media.

gaTeway Leisure

Gateway visitors are those who enter Northern

Ireland or Ireland through Belfast. It requires good air

and sea connections from Great Britain, Europe and

North America especially. Co-operative marketing

between Belfast, Tourism Ireland and major airline

carriers is also essential.

24

aLL isLand Touring

Belfast can increase the number of tourists who

come to the city as part of a visit to Ireland. To do

this requires an agreed approach with Tourism

Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and

clear communication of what Belfast has to offer

through a range of media.

visiTing friends and reLaTives

This has provided valuable and stable business

for many years. It’s vital that Belfast is seen as an

attractive place to visit, with a wide range of access

routes. It’s also important that opportunities created

by events, like the centenary of the Titanic in 2012,

are used to promote visits to the city. The citizens of

Belfast are our natural ambassadors to bring friends

and relatives back to Belfast.

Cruise TourisM

Belfast has made significant progress in this area.

The focus in the next three years is to maintain high

service standards and ensure costs for cruise lines

and passengers remain competitive. The completion

of Titanic Belfast in 2012 should be promoted as a

major reason for cruise ships to visit. Other parts of

the city must be included in itineraries.

day TriPs

Almost entirely from Northern Ireland and the

Republic of Ireland, this market is best promoted

through focused communication. The day visitor

comes to shop, attend an event or visit an attraction.

All have a potential for an overnight stay. There’s a

need for clear communication of the range of culture

and arts, shopping, events and attractions, and value

for money messages.


If you can’t have

a good time in

Belfast, you can’t

have a good time.

Jools Holland


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

DELIVERING

THE BELFAST

EXPERIENCE

In 2009, 9 million visitor trips were made to Belfast.

Providing a comprehensive, accessible and friendly

service to visitors is essential to ensure that they find

Belfast a warm, welcoming and vibrant city.

Belfast has a number of visitor information services

including:

• the Belfast Welcome Centre (with over 350,000

visitors a year);

• tourist information desks at both of the city’s main

airports; and

• a number of other information points at attractions

and venues across the city.

There is a need to

• increase online information and establish an ICT

working group;

• relocate Belfast Welcome Centre to a ground floor

location; and

• gather comprehensive information on tourism

products and distribute to visitors across the city.

More Belfast-specific packages are required,

providing greater access to our festivals and wider

culture and arts offer. A Belfast Visitor Pass will be

introduced offering free travel and discounts at visitor

attractions, restaurant and tour deals.

…this city wore the name

Of Northern Athens, with

no irony

John Hewitt

‘Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamas’

26

visiTor orienTaTion

Belfast’s pedestrian signage has improved

significantly, but it must be constantly updated as

new products develop. There needs to be more

brown tourism signs and interpretation in the city.

Increased interaction with Department for Regional

Development Roads Service is required to signpost

our attractions from the motorway.

In addition, there are a number of infrastructural and

environmental priorities:

• improved access via air and sea (it may be

necessary to offer more incentives to improve

access from key European markets); and

• further improvement in internal movement within

the city, whether walking, cycling, or travelling by

bus or taxi.

QuaLiTy

The Belfast Brand still has the potential to influence

destination choice but the delivery promise

- the quality of the visitor experience is our

competitive advantage.

Providing quality experiences is at the heart of the

vision for Belfast tourism. Quality assurance and

standards are key elements of delivering such

experiences and hence the framework recognises

the opportunity for Belfast City Council to act

as a one-stop-shop to direct city businesses to

appropriate training and quality solutions. An

immediate requirement is to establish a Hospitality

and Tourism Forum for Belfast with a specific remit

on quality and skills. It will need meaningful private

sector representation and participation. Tourism

is a people-based industry and aspiring to deliver

consistent high class experiences is dependent on

positioning it as a valued career option.

Any future skills development initiatives in Belfast need

to be: enterprise led; available locally; incorporating

flexible learning; fit for purpose and aligned to the

Belfast brand and NITB’s quality standards.


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

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28

researCh

Constant and effective monitoring is required to

implement this major strategy. Reliable data is vital to

provide an accurate reflection of what’s happening

on the ground.

At the moment, Belfast City Council’s Belfast Tourism

Monitor provides most tourism data for the city.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board also produces

tourism data for Belfast through the Northern Ireland

Statistics and Research Agency. Belfast City Council

will work with Northern Ireland Tourist Board to

harmonise the data and provide accurate and regular

information to the sector and stakeholders on visitor

volume, value and satisfaction.

There is also a need for more comprehensive

information on visitor satisfaction levels and the

impact of marketing. Again, Belfast City Council

and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board will work in

collaboration to monitor progress.

TargeTs

In 2009, Belfast had 1.7 million overnight visitors.

They contributed over 3.9 million bed-nights in the

city, and £245m to the economy.

High growth from this baseline, for staying visitors,

over the next five years would mean:

• a 40% increase in overnight visitors to 2.38 million,

• a 20% increase in bed-nights to 4.7 million, and

• a 20% increase in spend to £294 million.

The level of growth achieved will depend on the

recovery rate of the world economy, but the tourism

framework and the actions outlined within it in it are

based on achieving these growth targets. These

targets will be reviewed annually.


Belfast is walled

by mountain and

moated by sea

And undermined by

deposits of history.

William J. Philbin from The Bright Invisible,

Veritas Publications, Dublin, 1983


BELFAST TOURISM: GATEWAY TO THE FUTURE

An IntegrAted StrAtegIc FrAmework For BelFASt tourISm 2010-2014

KEY TO

SUCCESS

Tourism growth and the actions required to achieve this

need a concerted and collective effort. There are three

basic structural recommendations to achieve this:

high LeveL Co-ordinaTion

A Belfast Tourism Forum, chaired by Belfast City

Council’s Chair of Development Committee, will be

established to oversee the implementation of the

strategy. This forum will receive and issue progress

reports on the strategy and will include representatives

from a number of relevant organisations and sectors

including, for example, Belfast City Council, Northern

Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast Visitor and Convention

Bureau, Arts Council of Northern Ireland government

departments, partnership boards and key

community representatives.

TourisM deLivery

A public private partnership approach to delivery

of marketing and visitor servicing has already been

established through the Belfast Visitor and Convention

Bureau, while Belfast City Council continues to lead

on tourism research and development. This reflects

best practice across Europe and Belfast Visitor and

Convention Bureau will continue to be supported to

be a flexible, dynamic and competitive force in the

market place.

The BeLfasT TourisM

offiCers grouP

A strategy implementation team of officials has

been established, which will keep track of all

aspects of the framework, creating a network of

committed individuals across a range of agencies

and departments. Belfast City Council will chair this

team, with a core membership from Belfast Visitor and

Convention Bureau, Belfast City Centre Management

and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Officials from

other government departments and agencies will

be involved on a project basis. This group will have

an action-orientated approach and will report to the

Belfast Tourism Forum. At a micro level, there are also

many departments within Belfast City Council that

have a role in delivering the framework.

30

The framework is ambitious but that’s Belfast -

an ambitious, vibrant and creative city.

Belfast City Council, the Northern Ireland Tourist

Board and Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau,

invite you to be part of this exciting framework and

join us in developing Belfast as a leading European

city destination.


A city that is beautifully set between a bowl of hills and the sea. Sunset

sees the light fade above the green slopes, striking the impressive

Victorian buildings in the centre as it departs. Belfast Lough provides a

shimmering background and there’s always good craic in the revived and

now flourishing eateries and bars.


www.belfastcity.gov.uk/tourism

BCC 3565

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