Published: 2nd October 2015

Titanic Belfast – Three Years on and Still Making History

Pictured L-R Conal Harvey - Deputy Chair Titanic Belfast LTD, Nicky Dunn - Chair Titanic Foundation, Jackie Henry - Deloitte NI Office Senior Partner

An independent report has today revealed that 3 years into its operations Titanic Belfast is proving to be a major economic driver, bringing thousands of tourists, generating millions in additional tourism spend, creating hundreds of jobs and is well on its way to exceeding its original targets. Commissioned by Titanic Foundation Ltd, the charity set up to preserve Belfast and Northern Ireland’s maritime heritage and the owners of Titanic Belfast, the report, delivered by Deloitte, reflects on Titanic Belfast’s first three years of business, its impact and the potential for growth over the next few years.

Highlights from Deloitte’s three year evaluation report, which is based on the period 1 April 2012 – March 2015, includes:

  • Titanic Belfast generated £105 million in additional tourism spend for the Northern Ireland economy over its first three years, sustaining around 893 jobs each year in the wider economy.
  • There were 1.9 million admissions to the galleries; 150,000 conference delegates and 100,000 visitors to special exhibitions. Visitor numbers peaked in the first year of opening, with over 800,000 customers, and have continued to remain highly resilient with 700,000 customers to the galleries, exhibitions and conferences in year three.
  • Over 71% of visitors were from outside of Northern Ireland visited Titanic Belfast as well as 576,000 from Northern Ireland.
  • Over the last three years half a million visitors’ main reason to visit Northern Ireland was to see Titanic Belfast.
  • Titanic Belfast is a unique public private sector partnership funded by the NI Executive, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Commission and Titanic Quarter Limited. This partnership is critical to the project’s success alongside the high level cross party political support.
  • Appointment of a private sector operator in 2011 has ensured the ongoing and future financial sustainability of the project. The report recommends that the relationship between the owner Titanic Foundation and the operator Titanic Belfast provides interesting learnings for other projects.
  • Its contribution to Belfast and Northern Ireland as a Tourism Destination is evident in the global visitor base it has attracted; the excellent feedback from visitors and tour operators; and in the number of prestigious international and national awards it has received. In 2015 Titanic Belfast won the ‘Best Visitor Attraction in Europe’ (European Group Travel Awards) beating the Eiffel Tower and London Eye.
  • Titanic Belfast has contributed to the unlocking of over £50 million public and private investment in heritage assets including HMS Caroline, SS Nomadic and the Harland & Wolff Head Quarters and Drawing Office.
  • Titanic Belfast’s success is the output of 10 years of project planning, relationship building, development and implementation. Building on this success it is Important that there is a joint partnership approach on the vision for the next 10 years that include growing the experience, attracting more visitors, creating more jobs and development of linkages with other visitor attractions within Titanic Quarter and across NI.

Welcoming this insightful report commissioned by Titanic Foundation Ltd, Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary of Development for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said,

There has been sustained growth in tourism spend in Northern Ireland over the last 4-5 years, with tourism worth £750 million to the local economy in 2014. Titanic Belfast has played a major part in this success with over 2.5 million visitors to its galleries since opening. I would like to see tourism grow to become a £I billion industry by 2020 and award winning offerings such as Titanic Belfast ensure that Northern Ireland visitor experience has recognition on the international stage”.

Nicky Dunn, Chair of Titanic Foundation, commented,“Deloitte’s three year report is a clear indicator of the important role Titanic Foundation has played in the concept and delivery of Titanic Belfast as well as the essential role it has played in the regeneration of the Titanic Quarter. This could not have been achieved without the bold vision of our funders and donors. The results are also testament to the commitment and hard work by the operator – Titanic Belfast, their management team and the 300 staff. Titanic Foundation is keen to build on the report’s achievements by continuing to work in partnership with public and private organisations to promote, preserve and develop Belfast’s/ Northern Ireland’s  maritime and industrial heritage which will only help to enhance the Titanic Belfast experience for everyone to enjoy.”

Jackie Henry, Senior Partner at Deloitte, said: “Our extensive analysis has found compelling evidence that the original projections and targets relating to Titanic Belfast’s economic, social and physical impact have been met and indeed exceeded. In particular Titanic Belfast has proved to be an economic driver, providing jobs, unlocking investment and a significant boost to tourism.”

Conal Harvey, Deputy Chair of  Titanic Belfast commented, “Titanic Belfast has enjoyed undoubted success over the last three and a half years, which can be measured not only by the 2.5 million visitors, but also by the five star customer service standards achieved by management and staff. It has placed Belfast and Northern Ireland on the national and international tourism map, with over 80% of all visitors coming from outside Northern Ireland, creating a huge financial benefit to the wider economy. Titanic Belfast looks forward to welcoming many more visitors in the coming years both domestic and international.”

The Deloitte Executive Summary Report is available to download from here.