Behind the scenes: Belfast Waterfront development:

As the Belfast Waterfront undergoes an extensive expansion programme, C&IT caught up with Jennifer Patterson, revenue and business generation manager at the venue.

Is the extension to the Centre on track and when will the project be completed?

Our development plans are well underway, the initial enabling works have already commenced and we expect the new building to open mid 2016. Our new extension will see our existing venue doubling in size by adding 4,000m² of additional function space complete with a high end specification and fit. This will complement the existing building design by providing a selection of exterior terraces ensuring that delegates can enjoy our stunning riverside views. All in all the enhanced Belfast Waterfront will offer event organisers more choice, greater flexibility and even bigger and better space complete with the latest in communications technology.

Will the extension enable Belfast to compete with other cities for a larger share of the conference market?

Recent investment has radically changed Belfast’s landscape with world-class tourist attractions across the city and iconic buildings being restored, creating a vibrant and happening city that will stir the imagination and appeal to a wide range of delegates. The extension at Belfast Waterfront will only further enhance the city's capability to attract larger conferences and events. Doubling the size of our existing facilities has attracted huge interest from conference and event planners and already our events calendar for 2016 and beyond is filling up fast with national and international conferences.

Why should delegates consider holding a conference at the venue?

Belfast Waterfront ranks among the top tier of European conference centres and is perfectly positioned in the heart of a compact, exciting and youthful city. Many of Belfast’s top hotels, restaurants and attractions are within walking distance from our centre and we’ve superb access to the main air, rail and sea terminals. We've seen many customers return to our venue year after year, including Laithwaites Wine and The Sunday Times Wine Club.

How will the transformation of the Centre fit in with other C&I developments in Belfast?

The expansion of the Waterfront is the latest investment in Belfast’s tourism infrastructure and will further build on and compliment the range of existing and new C&I products on offer across the city. Belfast has seen increased demand from conference organisers – with wins up 131% in the past three years. The Waterfront expansion will not only help us meet this demand, it will enable Belfast to compete in new markets and secure even more conference business for the city, delivering a welcome boost for its growing tourism and hospitality industry.

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