Visit Belfast and ICC Belfast have hit the top spot in two major categories at this year’s micebook awards 2024, recognising their commitment to delivering world-class events with excellence, innovation and impact.

Visit Belfast secured the ‘Best Convention Bureau’ title at the annual awards in London for a second consecutive year in an international competition that selects the best in class across the world of conferences and events.

In a major boost for the city, ICC Belfast was also a top winner, securing the ‘Best UK Events Venue’ title, reflecting its team’s approach to delivering an exceptional experience for delegates in world class surroundings.

The Destination Marketing Management Organisation (DMMO) for the Belfast City Region, which marks its 25th anniversary milestone next year, beat Vienna’s Convention Bureau to win the coveted title that recognises Visit Belfast’s leadership and innovation in supporting outstanding events which provide a clear focus on sustainability, legacy and impact.

ICC Belfast triumphed at the micebook awards, beating ACC Liverpool, Church House Westminster and Farnborough International, to be recognised as the UK’s best events venue.

ICC Belfast has also been shortlisted for ‘Best Convention Centre’ at next month’s Conference & Events Awards 2024, lining up against some of the world’s largest convention centres including ExCel London, ACC Liverpool and ICC Birmingham to take the top prize.

Steve Daniels, Chairman of ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall, said, “As chairman of BWUH Ltd. we are delighted to receive this award that recognises ICC Belfast as a state-of-the-art international conference venue. This further strengthens the position of Belfast as a city that is primed for business events. That message is important as we continue to build on our reputation as a conferencing destination. I’m incredibly proud of the team for their ongoing commitments to our venue. They continue to recognise that our contribution is about more than simply winning awards, but winning for the region, economically, socially and culturally.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Micky Murray, welcomed the latest awards:

“Tourism is a key pillar in Belfast’s economic development and business tourism is a vital, growing area which delivers millions of pounds to the local and regional economy and directly supports a vibrant hospitality sector and thousands of jobs,” he said.

“International awards are important to our city’s ability to sell itself, as well as an opportunity to highlight our credentials in delivering excellence, driving innovation and becoming more sustainable. I’m delighted that Visit Belfast and ICC Belfast have proven their ability to lead from the front on a global stage yet again. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Belfast’s profile as a leading international conference destination has grown dramatically in recent years.

Last year, Belfast was officially named as the world’s best conference and events destination at the annual C&IT Awards gala in London for the fifth time in six years, securing a record-breaking position that underlines the city’s strengths as a major international draw for business delegates and event organisers.

C&IT’s Best Conference Destination 2023 award recognised Visit Belfast and the city’s tourism industry for its consistent, collaborative efforts to meet and exceed the expectations of conference and event organisers to deliver a world class experience for thousands of delegates every year while ICC’s ‘Best Venue – UK’ award by C&IT recognised its contribution to the city’s thriving business conference sector as well as how the team has successfully delivered on its values as a venue that celebrates diversity and champions inclusivity.

Visit Belfast was also awarded ‘UK Best Destination Team of the Year’ at the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) Awards 2023, securing the top industry title in a highly competitive shortlist that included Conference Leeds, Meet in Wales and Newcastle Gateshead Convention Bureau.

Rachael McGuickin, Director of Business Development, Sustainability and Transformation at Visit Belfast, said:

“Business tourism generates £30 million for our local economy every year and represents a significant, growing part of the city’s vibrant tourism economy that directly supports a range of venues, hotels, bars, restaurants and transport providers across the supply chain. They also provide knowledge, wealth and connections to support the development of our regional economy and underpin Belfast’s reputation as a leading international hub for innovation, academic excellence and business success.

“Industry recognition for our success is important – it not only rewards the collective efforts made by our teams but assists in marketing ourselves to win new business and achieve further growth.”

A new Integrated Strategy for Business Events in Northern Ireland was launched in March 2022 which seeks to double the number of international conferences hosted annually and attract three times the number of delegates from the UK and Ireland by 2030.

John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI, said:

“I would like to congratulate both Visit Belfast and ICC Belfast on their success at the recent micebook Awards.

“This is a recognition of what Belfast has to offer as an outstanding, unique and authentic destination for business meetings and events.

“Business events don’t only contribute to the city’s visitor economy, they also support knowledge exchange, foreign direct investment and bring social benefit to our local communities.

“These awards will no doubt ensure that Belfast and the wider region will continue to be a destination of choice for business events in the future.”

Established in 1999 as the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB), Visit Belfast is a not-for-profit public, private and community partnership focused on driving city and regional tourism growth through business events, leisure breaks and cruise.

ICC Belfast is Northern Ireland’s only purpose-built international convention centre boasting over two decades of experience in delivering world-class events, offering 7000m² of flexible space for conferences and events catering for up to 5,000 delegates.