Published: 15th April 2013
Titanic Belfast Celebrates Its First Year Success Story
Visitors to the iconic visitor attraction’s Titanic exhibition totalled an amazing 807,340 between March 31, 2012 and March 31, 2013, exceeding all expectations set before the building opened to coincide with the 100th anniversary of RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.
The appetite for Titanic’s story to be told at the birthplace of the great liner was welcomed far and wide, with visitors coming to Titanic Belfast from 128 countries. In total, 471,702 visitors to Titanic Belfast came from out-of-state (outside Northern Ireland).
The positive impact of Titanic Belfast on Belfast’s economy has been one of Titanic proportion. The attraction brought an additional 460,000 visitors to the city in 2012, increasing hotel occupancy rates to a record level during the summer months while increasing footfall at Belfast International and George Best City airports and retail shops.
The success of Titanic Belfast adds up to a tremendous £54.3m (direct and indirect) total of tourist expenditure in Belfast in 2012 – estimating that visitors whose main purpose of travel to Belfast was to visit Titanic Belfast, contributed £27.2m to the city’s economy.
Reflecting on a momentous 12-month opening period for Titanic Belfast, Chief Executive Tim Husbands said: “There are many challenges that now lie ahead of us and we relish the opportunity to take them on. We have set the standard for the tourism industry and for the corporate industry, and we aim to remain the standard-bearer for our shared community hopes and ambitions for Belfast and Northern Ireland.”
Titanic Belfast’s Executive Vice Chair, Conal Harvey, said: “We have barely had time to catch our breath since March 31, 2012 when Titanic Belfast opened its doors and at the same time transformed the city of Belfast.
“We hit the ground running and we haven’t stopped, and we will show no sign of slowing down or complacency in the months and years ahead. It has been an unforgettable year and we will never experience another year like it. We are overwhelmed with the visitor figures and the remarkable impact Titanic Belfast has had on our great city; and the positive impression Northern Ireland’s first five-star tourist attraction has had on the world.”
Titanic Belfast has also established itself as a leading venue for conferences and banqueting, exhibitions, wedding and other functions. In 2012 alone, 55,116 guests attended more than 350 events in Titanic Belfast suites, Titanic, Britannic and Olympic and The Bridge. Of these events, 58 were hosted by our-of-state clients and attended by more than 10,000 out-of-state visitors. Events on levels five and six in Titanic Belfast in 2012 has cemented the venue’s place in Belfast’s business tourism infrastructure, proving popular as a unique world-class space for conference, gala dinners and exhibitions.
Titanic Belfast, just as Titanic did more than 100 years ago, gave a boost to employment in Belfast, created 970 full-time jobs (direct and indirect) due to the opening of the attraction and tourist expenditure generated.
At present, 304 people work at Titanic Belfast, coming from all parts of the city and beyond it.
In addition, Titanic Belfast’s spend in Belfast and Northern Ireland has been a wave of success for local businesses, with some £5.1m of goods and services purchased in year one, £4m of which was spent in the city. Half of the suppliers to Titanic Belfast’s merchandise store are based in the greater Belfast area.
Nicky Dunn, Chair of Titanic Foundation Limited, the charity which owns the Titanic Belfast building, said: “Our aspiration was to build a world-class visitor attraction. I congratulate all the staff in Titanic Belfast for their passion and determination in making Titanic Belfast a truly remarkable five-star experience.
“We would also thank our funders and stakeholders; the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Commission and Titanic Quarter Limited for their continued support, belief and commitment to the project.”
The building’s first year has enjoyed many highlights too, from the hosting of the MTV Titanic Sounds concert attended by 18,000 music fans, the Jubilee Year visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to officially open Titanic Belfast, and visits from TITANIC movie director James Cameron, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Prince Andrew, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, Liu Yandong (China), and US Senator George Mitchell.