Twelve Chief Executives from leading UK business events agencies have arrived in Belfast this week for the micebook Leaders Retreat (6 – 8 December).
Tourism NI secured the opportunity to host the prestigious group and, in partnership with Visit Belfast, developed a programme of activities to showcase what Belfast and Northern Ireland has to offer for the lucrative business events sector. The retreat will bring together top meetings, incentive, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) agents to network, develop, influence and discuss the strategic issues facing their industry.
The leaders will take part in a series of sessions around the city and will visit some of the hotels and venues that host meetings, conferences and corporate incentive programmes. Highlights of the itinerary include site visits to venues such as Titanic Belfast, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens plus a sneak preview of the recently launched Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios. The group will also experience the Street Art Walking Tour around Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
Belfast has recently been named as one of the top 20 Sustainable Destinations in the world by the Global Destination Sustainability Index and several sustainable steps have been integrated in the itinerary including plant-based breakfast, no printed items or disposable plastic and locally sourced produce for the menus. Transfers between the various locations will be on board one of Translink’s groundbreaking hydrogen powered buses.
Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI’s Business Solutions Manager commented: “Tourism NI is delighted to welcome the prestigious micebook Leaders Retreat to Belfast. Business events is a valued part of our tourism portfolio, with conferences in 2019 generating an economic impact of around £28m in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. As agencies increasingly place business in closer to home markets, it is vital that this influential group get to see at first-hand what Northern Ireland can offer.”
She added: “Sustainability will be at the fore of this retreat as we have taken several sustainable steps to ensure it is integrated in the itinerary. The average business delegate is worth three times that of the average leisure visitor and as they tend to arrive mid-week and in shoulder season, this business is extremely sought after with many destinations competing to secure conferences and meetings.”
Rachael McGuickin, Director of Visit Belfast said: “With multi-millions of pounds invested in recent years, Belfast is fast gaining a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting and emerging business events destinations.
“Hosting the leaders of some of the UKs top business events agencies enables Visit Belfast and Tourism NI to showcase the wonderful products and experiences available to them so close to home and raise the profile of the region in general.
“We’re thrilled to have been able to develop an itinerary that reflects the creativity and dynamism our partners and we’re confident that after being immersed in some of the best and newest experiences available, our clients will leave Northern Ireland inspired and excited to include Belfast and the city region within their programmes.”
Chetan Shah, CEO and founder of micebook added: “We are truly excited about bringing the ‘Nineteen’ leaders’ group to Northern Ireland and we are sure that the destination will surprise and delight our VIP guests. It has been a pleasure curating this high level gathering with local thought leadership around exciting topics impacting our sector and the wider challenges of business. Working with the team at Tourism Northern Ireland and Visit Belfast has been a real pleasure and shows how destination support can really add value to any programme with their access to great people, content, spaces and ideas.”
Pic 1: Pictured outside Hillsborough Castle and Gardens are Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI’s Business Solutions Manager, Lisa Stewart, GB Business Events Sales Manager at Visit Belfast, Chetan Shah, CEO and founder of micebook, Michael Dalton, Founder of MICDrop, Alan Greer, Business Development and Sales Executive at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, and Andrew Carlisle, Bugler at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens alongside 12 micebook leaders.