Published: 18th April 2011

Titanic Belfast Operator Appointed

Titanic Building and Model

Titanic Belfast Operator Appointed

Titanic Foundation Limited, the charitable trust which will own Titanic Belfast upon its completion, has announced that Harcourt Developments Ltd has been appointed operator of the iconic £97m visitor attraction.

Construction on Titanic Belfast, which is expected to attract up to 400,000 visitors per year, is continuing apace, with the cladding process well underway and the fit-out of the Titanic-themed tourist facility set to begin shortly. Building work is on schedule for completion by March 2012 in time to mark the centenary of RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage a month later.

Jonathan Hegan, Chairman of the Titanic Foundation, said:

“The Trustees are delighted with this appointment – Harcourt is an internationally recognised company with considerable expertise in operations and management.  It is a unique opportunity to manage such an iconic project and we are confident that Harcourt will help Titanic Belfast become Northern Ireland’s flagship tourist attraction.

“Situated just a stone’s throw from the slipways from which RMS Titanic was launched, and the Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices in which she was designed, Titanic Belfast will celebrate the construction of the world’s most famous ship and Belfast’s wider industrial and maritime heritage. With over 400,000 visitors per year expected the project will generate significant economic and social benefits for all of Northern Ireland.”

As operator, Harcourt will be responsible for delivering Titanic Belfast’s attractions and day-to-day running.  The company will also be responsible for marketing and promoting the facilities within the building, including banqueting and conference facilities, and its permanent visitor exhibitions and educational facilities.

Conal Harvey, Director of Group Operations at Harcourt, commented:

“People can’t fail to miss the striking design of Titanic Building as it begins to take its place on Belfast’s skyline.  While we can’t reveal too much at this stage, I can confirm that it will include a range of themed, interactive galleries that will engage every age and every one of your senses using hi-tech rides never seen before in Northern Ireland.  It will tell the story of Titanic, Belfast’s industrial and maritime past, and contemporary ocean exploration.

“It’s a great honour for Harcourt Developments to be named operator for Titanic Belfast, one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and exciting projects. Building upon our worldwide experience we’ve put together a dedicated team including Pro Fun, which specialises in international visitor attractions, and a number of leisure industry experts. We fully expect Titanic Belfast will become a globally significant tourist attraction.”

Titanic Belfast will also include banqueting, retail and restaurant facilities, as well as conference suites and a community resource centre.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s Director of Product Development, Siobhan McCauley, said:

“NITB has been integral to the vision and delivery of the Titanic Signature Project since it was first identified in the Tourism Framework for Action in 2004. With £37m backing from the Executive, I am thrilled that we have arrived at this milestone of appointing an operator.

“We all face big challenges ahead to deliver on the significant tourism and economic opportunities and I have no doubt that, by working together, the Titanic Signature Project will create a once-in-a-lifetime step change for Northern Ireland’s tourism industry.” 

Peter McNaney, Belfast City Council’s Chief Executive, added:

“Belfast has already begun the task of reclaiming Titanic for the City which built and designed her, and Titanic Belfast will be the final piece in the puzzle.

“Titanic is one of the most recognisable brands in the world.  Titanic Belfast will put Belfast at the heart of next year’s global centenary celebrations, highlighting not only how good Belfast is to visit, but how confident we are of the City’s future. The council has made a major commitment to this project of £10m and we are delighted with the progress that is being made with the construction.”

Harcourt Developments is one of Ireland’s most successful property developers. The Dublin-based development, management and investment company has a broad portfolio of international projects, including the award winning Carlisle Bay Hotel in Antigua and the famous Park West business park in Dublin.

Harcourt’s sister company, Titanic Quarter Ltd, is developing Titanic Quarter – the site of Titanic Belfast – which at 185-acres is the largest urban regeneration project in Northern Ireland’s history and one of the largest waterfront schemes in Europe.