Irish Shoppers Make Belfast Buzz

Last year, 800,000 shoppers from the Republic of Ireland spent an estimated £94 million in Belfast during the run up to Christmas.

This year, Belfast City Council, Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB) and Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce are working together to deliver another prosperous festive season, boosted by a major advertising campaign designed to woo shoppers and city break visitors.

Featuring television, radio, press and outdoor advertising, as well as on-line and interactive TV elements, BVCB`s £400,000 all-Ireland campaign focuses on why "you'll love Christmas in Belfast" and encourages potential visitors to enjoy shopping in the city.

Councillor William Humphrey, Chairman of Belfast City Council's Development Committee, says the campaign showcases the best of Belfast at this time of year.

"As the new adverts show, we have plenty of exciting attractions to encourage people who live outside the city to consider Belfast," he said.

"Shopping is not only a huge draw for local residents, who are so important to the local economy, but for visitors from across Northern Ireland and from the Republic of Ireland.

"At this time of year, when the city is buzzing with all things festive, including the wonderful Christmas lights and decorations at the City Hall, in stores and on the streets, Belfast really comes into its own as a great city in which to shop, explore and enjoy a city break.

"Belfast offers a wide selection of quality restaurants, hotels and night-spots, great value in stores, lots to see and do with various seasonal events and of course the Christmas Continental market at the City Hall." he added.

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of BVCB, is confident that the campaign will attract people from all over Ireland to visit in the run up to Christmas.

He said: "The aim of our integrated marketing campaign is to give potential visitors plenty of reasons to come to Belfast, highlighting the unique mix of shops, culture, entertainment, nightlife and great value accommodation, ultimately generating important income for the city.

"It is multi-faceted with an interactive TV element on the new gotobelfast.com website allowing people to click through to find ideas on entertainment and events, shopping and staying in Belfast and pages on Facebook and Twitter complement traditional advertising.

"By introducing digital and interactive elements alongside more traditional forms of marketing, we hope to effectively reach, inform and influence visitors and show the city to its best advantage," he said.

John Moore, President of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, added: "We expect this year's festive season to be a busy one for retailers in Belfast.

"With a wide range of shops and stores offering a unique retail experience and many of our major outlets offering brands not available elsewhere in Ireland, it is little wonder that increasing numbers of visitors are coming in from across Northern Ireland as well as a steady flow of people crossing the border to enjoy great value shopping here.

"The continued strength of the Euro is playing its part in enticing visitors to shop and stay in Belfast and we look forward to welcoming more visitors than ever before over the Christmas and New Year period," he concluded.

In addition to promoting the city, BVCB is also providing visitors with plenty of information to assist them in planning their stay and making the most of their time when they get here.

Some 100,000 copies of a specially designed 'Guide to Christmas in Belfast' are being distributed throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic, outlining everything the avid shopper needs to know about Belfast, including where to stay, shop and park.


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