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Curtain Up For Cultural Tourism

ULSTER BANK BELFAST FESTIVAL AT QUEEN’S HIGHLIGHTS THE ROLE OF ARTS AND CULTURE AS A DRIVING FORCE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND TOURISM

Susan McCleary, Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s and Susie McCullough, Northern Ireland Tourist Board have launched the Festival’s 2014 ‘Postcard Campaign’ shining a spotlight on the vital role of the arts for tourism in Northern Ireland. The Festival “Postcards” will target tourists from all over Ireland and GB providing a snapshot of what is on offer at Ireland’s leading international contemporary arts festival.

A recent NITB Visitors Survey found an 11% increase on the previous year in visitors reporting ‘opportunities to attend local events and festivals’ as a reason to visit Northern Ireland. In addition an independent economic assessment showed that the 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s generated £577,180 in tourism revenue including £112,637 on tourism accommodation and £464,543 on food and drink, transport and shopping. The Festival also provides an important role in business development creating an annual equivalent of 311 full-time jobs and a total benefit to Northern Ireland businesses of £2 million.

Susie McCullough, Director of Business Support and Events, NITB, said: “NITB is delighted to be supporting the 2014 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, showcasing a variety of world class arts performances across the city of Belfast. The research carried out on the 2012 festival indicated that 92% of spectators felt that the festival improved Northern Ireland’s reputation as a tourism destination, and 72% of spectators that attended stated that the festival made them feel more proud of Northern Ireland.”

Richard Wakely, Director, Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, said, “These report findings demonstrate that the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s provides significant economic benefits for Northern Ireland, creating employment and reinforcing the message to visitors and potential visitors that we have an outstanding cultural tourism product to offer. The festival not only offers high-quality international acts but we also place a huge emphasis on showcasing and celebrating the exceptional talent we are fortunate to have in the region. The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s connects Belfast to the world and the world to Belfast and this year we have 17 days of world-class arts featuring performers from 18 countries with 110 events and 26 premieres.”

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s presents great and diverse works of art from home and abroad, bringing audiences something very special that they cannot see elsewhere, all combining to deliver one unique festival which runs throughout the city from 16 October – 1 November.  The 2014 festival features performers from 18 different countries covering classical and contemporary music, film, dance, theatre, talks and visual arts, many of which are EU, UK and Ireland premieres.

The festival would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and public sector funders including Title Sponsor, Ulster Bank, Principal Funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Queen’s University, Belfast City Council, British Council, O2 International Sim, Belfast Harbour, Arts & Business NI and Department for Social Development, plus, the many venues, performers and partner organisations whose commitment and passion bring the arts to life for all to enjoy.

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s box office officially opens on 4th September but some shows are currently on sale check-in at www.belfastfestival.com for details.

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