BTA Visit Belfast

BTA On The Road
Julie Cooper
Adrian and myself were invited by Belfast City Airport to present at a breakfast meeting they were hosting in Belfast attended by senior representatives from the city's travel community.

We arrived at Belfast City Airport, collected our bags, grabbed a taxi and were checking into the Grand Central Hotel within 30 minutes of landing. We received a warm welcome at the Grand Central Hotel, a fabulous property which is part of the Hastings Group and represented by HotelRez. The hotel opened in June 2018 and the modern, light & airy feel of the lobby area continued throughout the hotel into the spacious, well planned rooms. The luxuriously appointed rooms included a fantastic bathroom with free-standing bath, separate oversized shower cubicle, super soft towels and bathrobes along with ESPA toiletries. An added bonus for us tea lovers was that a kettle was provided along with a Nespresso machine -  no need to try and figure out how to boil the water for that all-important cuppa! In a superb central location, this 300 bed hotel is an excellent choice for visitors to Belfast and the Observatory bar on the 23rd floor is a great place to relax and enjoy the stunning views over the city.

A trip out to the coast saw us at the fabulous Slieve Donard Resort Hotel, another Hastings property, nestling at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne in County Down about a 40 minute drive from Belfast City Centre. With beautiful sea views, a relaxing spa and excellent conference facilities, this Victorian property has hosted major events including the MTV Awards and the Northern Ireland Travel & Tourism Awards. An excellent venue in a fantastic location well worth considering if you want to stay within easy reach of the city.

After a great night's sleep, we headed to the Breakfast Meeting organised by Belfast City Airport where we met senior representatives from Visit Belfast, Tourism Ireland, the local Chamber of Commerce, hotels and TMCs to name a few. Ellie McGimpsey from Belfast City Airport updated us on the exciting changes at the airport and

Adrian Parkes presented the work and reach of the BTA to the captivated audience. A hearty Irish breakfast was enjoyed by all before heading off to continue their day - breakfast meetings are definitely the way to do business!

Not content with taking a leisurely trip back to the airport, we headed over to the Titanic Centre to view the conference facilities. This part of Belfast has really benefited from development in recent years and is a very interesting area being home to the Titanic Experience (the ship was built in Belfast) and, until September, the Game of Thrones exhibition -  a lot of the filming for this popular series took place in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit the exhibition but were impressed by the conference facilities, especially the Titanic Suite with the breath-taking replica of the famous stair case which can be used to present from.

A five minute journey back to Belfast City Airport, quick & easy check-in and security meant that there was plenty of time to catch up on Emails before boarding our flight back to London with fond memories of the warm welcome we received and wanting to come back for a longer trip to explore more of this beautiful and interesting part of the UK.

Our thanks to Ellie McGimpsey for organising the event, Caitriona Lavery & Hastings Hotels for their generous hospitality and everyone that attended the meeting.

Be sure to include Belfast when you are considering venues for conferences and events -you won't be disappointed!