A city transformed

IMG_6311 The First Minister and deputy First Minister share their ambitions for Belfast and explain how the regional capital is contributing to Northern Ireland’s transformation.

City economy turning the corner

Belfast now has the fourth highest gross value added per capita in the UK, Peter Robinson pointed out. The rankings, published by the Office for National Statistics, place Northern Ireland’s capital just behind the City of London, Westminster and Edinburgh.

Robinson sees this as proof that the city is “a top performer nationally as well as locally.” He pointed to All State’s newest job announcement: its sixth successive investment in the province. Merchant Warehouse, a US payment technology company, has chosen Belfast for its first international office. Deloitte and the Lloyds Banking Group are also significantly expanding their local operations.

The First Minister stated: “These demonstrations of faith in Belfast are further evidence that our economy as a whole (and this city’s in particular) is turning the corner and should now start to grow again.” The road ahead, he remarked, “looks brighter than it has ever been.”

City economy turning the corner

Belfast now has the fourth highest gross value added per capita in the UK, Peter Robinson pointed out. The rankings, published by the Office for National Statistics, place Northern Ireland’s capital just behind the City of London, Westminster and Edinburgh.

Robinson sees this as proof that the city is “a top performer nationally as well as locally.” He pointed to All State’s newest job announcement: its sixth successive investment in the province. Merchant Warehouse, a US payment technology company, has chosen Belfast for its first international office. Deloitte and the Lloyds Banking Group are also significantly expanding their local operations.

The First Minister stated: “These demonstrations of faith in Belfast are further evidence that our economy as a whole (and this city’s in particular) is turning the corner and should now start to grow again.” The road ahead, he remarked, “looks brighter than it has ever been.”

Belfast’s strengths

• Regenerated waterfront

• Formidable marine heritage

• International conference platform

• Financial and ICT investment hub

• Competitive broadband services

• Most attractive inward investment point outside London

• HBO and Universal Pictures presence

Tourism success

Titanic Belfast’s 807,000 visitors in one year is just one indicator of Belfast’s growing tourism potential, according to Robinson. Belfast has “clearly raised the bar” in developing its product, the visitor experience and the feel-good factor. Titanic Belfast is an “architectural icon” that captures the spirit of the yard that built the ship and the hearts of visitors.

The National Geographic’s Traveler magazine described Belfast as “a capital that was redefining itself in the eyes of the world”. The Lonely Planet says it is “buzzing” and the Financial Times views it as one of the top 10 places in the world to hold a conference or major event. Fourteen thousand conference delegates are due to visit between now and 2016: a £17.7 million economic boost.

Global impressions

All foreign visitors who have recently met the First and deputy First ministers are “absolutely amazed” at how Belfast has changed, McGuinness related. “We should always keep in mind that the world is looking at us and, in fact, the world takes inspiration from what has happened here. We have to continue to inspire those other parts of the world that are in conflict themselves,” he said.

Coming up in Belfast

2013: 58 cruise ships and 114,000 passengers to visit the city

2014: Starting point for Giro d’Italia

(Grande Partenza)

2015: Tall Ships return

Robinson on Belfast

“It’s sometimes difficult to comprehend the progress that Belfast has made over recent years. It’s a city transformed. It’s vibrant. It’s welcoming.

It’s fresh and it’s looking forward to the future.

McGuinness on skills

“There is no doubt that higher skills levels will be vital in the future of this city and indeed if our economy is to be competitive on the world stage.

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