Published: 18th September 2012
Titanic Belfast welcomes 500,000th visitor
Visitor number targets were exceeded when Canadian citizen Lynda Price, who was born in east-Belfast and is the great-granddaughter of a shipyard worker, entered the World’s Largest Titanic Visitor Experience at 11:00am on Tuesday, September 18.
Mrs Price was greeted by Titanic Belfast CEO, Mr Tim Husbands, Chairman of Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Howard Hastings, and Belfast City Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson. Along with her husband, David, and son Barry, Mrs Price was welcomed by invited guests, and were entertained by the Belfast Community Gospel Choir. She was presented with gifts from Titanic Belfast, including a personally signed letter from Dr Robert Ballard, the Oceanographer who found Titanic 27 years ago this month. Members of the public enjoyed the occasion too, and received gifts from Titanic Belfast staff.
The confirmation of Titanic Belfast’s 500,000th visitor in just six months since opening means the visitor attraction has exceeded the original annual forecast for visitor numbers, which was set at 425,000.
Of those who experienced Titanic Belfast in the past six months, 65% were out-of-state (non-Northern Ireland residents). Visitors came from near and far, from the Republic of Ireland to the Republic of Korea, and from the United States to the United Arab Emirates. Titanic Belfast has welcomed tourists from 111 countries, from Argentina, Nepal, Qatar and Belize, amongst others, generating significant tourism revenue for the local economy for not only Belfast, but for Northern Ireland as a whole.
Tim Husbands, Titanic Belfast CEO, said: “Our target for the year was 425,000 visitors so we are obviously excited, proud, and delighted that the work and investment put into the project by our stakeholders – Belfast City Council, the Northern Ireland Executive, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Tourism Ireland, The Harbour Commissioners, Titanic Quarter Limited and the Titanic Foundation – has paid off handsomely for the city, helping position both Titanic and Belfast on centre stage in markets right across the world.
“But it is not just about the numbers but also about the Titanic Belfast experience and the significant efforts that have gone in for almost a year before we opened, and since, to ensure that our visitors have a world class customer experience to match their expectations.”
Howard Hastings, Chairman of Northern Ireland Tourist Board, said: “2012 has been a momentous year for tourism in Northern Ireland with Titanic Belfast at the heart of its success. This iconic exhibition is now reaping the benefits of worldwide media attention and I am delighted that it has exceeded visitor expectations so far.”
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Gavin Robinson, said: “This year has been a truly great one for tourism in Belfast, and Titanic Belfast has undoubtedly been the centerpiece of that success.
“The Titanic story is probably one of the most fascinating, amazing, poignant, thought provoking and absorbing tales from the last century, if not the last millennium. But, for too long, Belfast’s part in the story, and the role of the people of Belfast in bringing Titanic to life, has been neglected.
“Now, the city that gave birth to the ship, and many others, proudly and rightfully has acknowledged her part in the tale, and Belfast City Council is proud to play it role in celebrating the achievement, commemorating the tragedy and educating the world about our city’s role in the Titanic story.”