Routes Europe to return to UK in 2017

Routes Europe will return to the UK in 2017, bringing 1,200 delegates to Belfast and an estimated £1.3m boost to the local economy.

Routes Europe will take place in Belfast's Waterfront Conference Centre
Routes Europe will take place in Belfast's Waterfront Conference Centre

The 12th Routes Europe, an annual gathering of air service development professionals conducting business to, from and within Europe, will take place at the Waterfront Conference Centre between 23 and 25 April 2017. The centre is due to complete a £30m extension next summer.

The event, which will be hosted by Invest Northern Ireland and Visit Belfast and supported by stakeholders including Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Belfast City Council, Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport, will be the second time Routes Europe has taken place in the UK.

Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre hosted this year’s event earlier this month.

Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s Enterprise, Trade and Investment minister, said: "Hosting Routes Europe in Belfast in 2017 provides us with a rare opportunity to bring influential decision makers into the region and showcase Northern Ireland’s tourism and business potential.

"This conference has the potential to accelerate route development for Belfast and Northern Ireland with previous hosts of Routes Europe confirming up to six new routes after hosting the event. This will benefit business, tourism and the aerospace sectors.

"The three-day conference will attract more than 1,200 European and international delegates bringing an economic benefit to Belfast worth over £1.3 million. Longer term benefits will come from the extensive international PR coverage for Belfast and Northern Ireland that it will generate, which will enhance our profile as a tourism destination and as a location for hosting large-scale international events."

Meanwhile, the BBC announced yesterday (29 April) that this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be broadcast from The Odyssey Arena in Belfast on 20 December in front of an estimated 8,000 capacity audience. It will be the first time Northern Ireland has hosted the show, which first went on the road in 2006.

More on Belfast:

Titanic' hotel in Belfast awarded £4.9m grant

Belfast Waterfront confirms 50 events for new £29.5m extension

Three new hotels planned for Titanic Quarter Belfast

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