Last week I travelled to Belfast for the International Conference on Tourism and Events organised by the Ulster Business School. The conference was packed with thought-provoking keynote speeches and interesting papers. It took place in the Europa Hotel which was a very comfortable venue despite once having been known as the most-bombed hotel in Europe!
Having never been to Northern Ireland before I didn’t know very much about Belfast but found people incredibly welcoming and keen to share their local knowledge. 2012 is a big year for Northern Ireland as they’re hosting many international events and developing the city as an important tourist destination. One of the city’s newest tourist attractions is the brand new Titanic visitor centre which is a fascinating museum which explores Belfast’s role in the Titanic legacy. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in town!
The welcome reception took place in the spectacular City Hall. We were given a brief tour and a bit of history about the building and I was surprised to hear that it was built by a lot of the same people who built the Titanic. (Fortunately the City Hall has lasted a lot longer!)
I met a lot of new people at the conference, many from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but also from much further afield. Conferences are always a great opportunity to meet new people and it’s always exciting to hear about exciting new research projects.
As usual, the conference came to an end very quickly and I felt I hadn’t had enough time to experience Belfast fully but I hope to have the chance to head back in the future to explore the city properly.