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Initiative launched to promote NI as international business and events destination

A new initiative, the Ambassador Circle, has been launched to target and grow the number of international business events hosted in Northern Ireland and promote Northern Ireland as a business and events destination.

The Ambassador Circle aims to bring together business and academic leaders in advanced manufacturing, technology, life and health sciences, food and drink and financial, professional and business services to help identify, target and attract key business events and conferences to the region.

It is a joint initiative between Invest Northern Ireland, Visit Belfast, Tourism NI and Visit Derry.

Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI, reveals that The Ambassador Circle will include five new advisory panels made up of nominated business and academic leaders. He states that these panels are specifically focused on the key sectors where Northern Ireland has existing and growing strength. 

Speaking about the Ambassador Circle, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, said: “My department’s 10X Economy Vision and the Tourism Recovery Action Plan set out bold ambitions for the economic recovery and future growth of Northern Ireland. International meetings and events play an important part in this.

“Business events and conferences generate mid-week, year-round demand to our venues, hotels and hospitality sector. They also have the unique ability and power to showcase the skills, knowledge and innovation that exist in Northern Ireland, putting the region on the map as an exciting place to visit, do business and invest in."

He added: "I welcome the efforts of Invest NI, Visit Belfast, Tourism NI and Visit Derry in establishing The Ambassador Circle to harness the support of the local leaders across business, research and academia to attract more business and conferences to Northern Ireland.”

John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism Northern Ireland, commented: “I am confident that by working closely in collaboration with The Ambassador Circle, and playing to our undoubted strengths in Northern Ireland, we can harness the support of Northern Ireland’s business, education and research talent to attract even more national and international business events to the region, boosting visitor numbers and spend, and supporting the long-term recovery of our tourism industry.”

Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Visit Belfast, added: “Around 80% of business events come to Belfast and Northern Ireland through the support of an ambassador, a business or academic leader who can help us to attract events to the region within their sector. The original Belfast Ambassador programme was established by Visit Belfast over 20 years ago and has been key to our success in attracting conferences to the city region.

“The launch of the Ambassador Circle marks a new era of collaboration between tourism, economic development, education and research which will be a game-changer for tourism recovery and development.”