Industry leaders from agencies including Cheerful Twentyfirst, OrangeDoor, First Event, Identity, Principal Global Events, Seven Events, Lime Blue Solutions, Goose Live and The Turner Agency attended the micebook Agency Leaders Retreat in Belfast last week.
The event, hosted in partnership with Visit Belfast and Tourism Northern Ireland, brought together leaders for three days to network, learn, develop and discuss the strategic issues facing the MICE industry.
The group was hosted at the stunning The Merchant Hotel, and leaders took part in a series of sessions around the city and will visit some of the hotels and venues that host meetings, conferences and corporate incentive programmes.
Highlights of the itinerary included site visits to venues such as Titanic Belfast, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens plus a sneak preview of the recently launched Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios, scheduled to open in February 2022.
The event was themed around ‘Back to the Future’ with content sessions including ‘1.21 gigawatts … of sustainable energy…’ with sustainability specialists from ISLA and live examples from the Titanic Belfast, Grand Central Hotel and the Port.
Belfast has recently been named as one of the top 20 Sustainable Destinations in the world by the Global Destination Sustainability Index and several sustainable steps have been integrated in the itinerary including plant-based breakfast, no printed items or disposable plastic and locally sourced produce for the menus. Some transfers were on board one of Translink’s ground-breaking hydrogen powered buses.
Leaders also took part in a leader-led problem-solving content session and heard from Bill Wolsey, Owner of The Merchant Hotel, who shared his ‘Road to Success’ and Historical Royal Palaces’ Alan Greer and Nicola Andrews, who talked about Business Survival and the Charity Sector.
Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI’s Business Solutions Manager commented: “Business events is a valued part of our tourism portfolio, with conferences in 2019 generating an economic impact of around £28m in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. As agencies increasingly place business in closer to home markets, it is vital that this influential group get to see at first-hand what Northern Ireland can offer.”
Rachael McGuickin, Director of Visit Belfast said: “With multi-millions of pounds invested in recent years, Belfast is fast gaining a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting and emerging business events destinations.
“We’re thrilled to have been able to develop an itinerary that reflects the creativity and dynamism our partners and we’re confident that after being immersed in some of the best and newest experiences available, our clients will leave Northern Ireland inspired and excited to include Belfast and the city region within their programmes.”
Chetan Shah, CEO and founder of micebook added: “It has been a pleasure curating this high level gathering with local thought leadership around exciting topics impacting our sector and the wider challenges of business. Working with the team at Tourism Northern Ireland and Visit Belfast has been a real pleasure and shows how destination support can really add value to any programme with their access to great people, content, spaces and ideas.”