Grand plans for £100m Titanic venue

A Titanic-themed wedding might not provide the ideal metaphor for a plain-sailing future together, but that is unlikely to discourage couples reserving the North's latest venue for their big day.

A Titanic-themed wedding might not provide the ideal metaphor for a plain-sailing future together, but that is unlikely to discourage couples reserving the North's latest venue for their big day.

The Titanic Suite, perched high in the roof of a new £100m (€113.9m) visitor attraction in Belfast dedicated to the doomed liner, has started taking bookings ahead of its opening next year.

The fifth and sixth floors of the centre replicate the opulent surrounds of the ship's first class banqueting room, complete with the famous sweeping grand staircase.

Proclaimed as the largest function area in the region, with space for up to 1,000 guests, tourism chiefs hope the venue will host all manner of private events, including conferences and gala dinners.

The Titanic Belfast attraction, which houses the suite, is being built on the site where the ship was constructed over a century ago and overlooks Belfast Lough where it was launched in 1911.

It will open next April, just days before the centenary of the liner's sinking.

Claire Bradshaw, Titanic Belfast's head of sales & marketing, said she hoped the venue could also boost the region's lucrative £100m (€113.9m) business tourism market.

"Given the Titanic link, our aim is to create Belfast's most stylish venue, complete with the highest standards of catering and service," she said.

Susie McCullough, Northern Ireland Tourist Board director, added: "As one of Northern Ireland's signature projects, Titanic Belfast is a must-see visitor attraction and the excellent facilities, elegant surroundings and location of the Titanic Suite will help to position Northern Ireland as a unique business tourism destination.

"This venue, with the Titanic-themed decor and capacity to accommodate such a large number of visitors, is one of its kind in Northern Ireland.

"And whilst conference and banqueting facilities are vital elements of the business tourism product, the added value is the opportunity to explore more of Northern Ireland's maritime and shipbuilding heritage which is right on their doorstep."

Head of the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau, Gerry Lennon said the facility would help attract major events to the city.

"Business tourism has the potential to provide a double dividend," he said.

"Not only is there the obvious direct benefits of hosting the event itself, but business tourists are four times more likely to revisit than non-business visitors.

"Situated within what promises to be an iconic visitor attraction, the Titanic Suite is ideally suited to provide more reasons to encourage visitors back to Belfast."

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