Around 2,000 specialists from across the globe will gather at the extended venue for the International Surgical Congress from 11-13 May, generating an anticipated £2.2m for the local economy.
The event is said to be the biggest annual meeting of surgeons this side of the Atlantic, and was secured by a joint bid from Visit Belfast and Belfast Waterfront.
The Waterfront's expansion will see the venue’s event space double in size to 7,000sqm with the addition of two new multi-purpose halls; three large meeting rooms, each accommodating up to 200 delegates; two exterior terraces; and a new dedicated riverside entrance. Its 2,000-seat auditorium will host the plenary sessions, while two halls will be used for the exhibition gala dinner.
Nicholas Gair, chief executive of ASGBI, said having a venue that is a five-minute drive from the airport and on par with other leading international venues will "greatly benefit" delegates.
The 2016 congress will be themed around Surgery in the Digital Age. It will be the first time since 1981 that the ASGBI conference (then a much smaller annual scientific meeting) has been to Belfast.
John Moorhead, ASGBI president and Belfast ambassador, commented: "Belfast in 1981 was a different place. Visit Belfast today, however, and it's a completely different story. Thanks to investment in its infrastructure, Northern Ireland's capital city has blossomed into one of the UK's most exciting business tourism destinations. The city offers a superb purpose-built conference centre, world-class attractions and wide range of hotels - all within walking distance of each other. And based on our experience to date, I’m confident that the event will be hugely successful."
Susie McCullough, director of marketing and commercial development at Belfast Waterfront, added: "2016 is shaping up to be a busy year and we're absolutely delighted that ASGBI will join us to showcase the newly extended venue offering. Belfast Waterfront has built an international reputation over the last 18 years for its flexibility, 'second to none' service and experience. And we now have even greater flexibility and technology capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of the market place."
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