Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade has joined forces with Visit Belfast, Invest Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland to launch a new ‘Ambassador Circle’ for the Newry, Mourne and Down district, enlisting local champions to help promote the city region and attract high profile business events.
The Visit Belfast initiative has already successfully attracted a network of over 1,200 leading academic, medical and business professionals who work in partnership with Visit Belfast to attract prestigious national and international conferences to Belfast, Derry-Londonderry and the wider region.
The Ambassador Circle brings together business and academic leaders in advanced manufacturing, technology, life and health sciences, food and drink and financial, professional and business services to help identify, target and attract key business events and conferences.
It also includes five new advisory panels made up of nominated business and academic leaders which are specifically focussed on the key sectors where Northern Ireland has existing and growing strength. The panels will play a strategic role in identifying and securing business events that could be hosted in Northern Ireland that are aligned to the Department for Economy’s 10X Vision.
Established over 20 years ago by Visit Belfast, the Ambassador network has generated more than £400 million for the economy since it was established.
Julie Gibbons, President of Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade, said: “Newry is well known for its strong, vibrant and forward looking business community and for its readiness to work collaboratively for the benefit of the local and regional economy.
“Working with Visit Belfast, Invest NI, Tourism NI, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council advances our aims to support local business growth and development in every sector, including hospitality and tourism, while raising the profile of the Newry City region at home and abroad.
“The Ambassador Circle launch in Newry is an exciting development and I encourage business leaders in every sector to get in touch and to get involved to ensure that this landmark initiative continues to deliver on the success it has achieved.”
Many of Newry’s leading local and international business names supported the launch at the city’s Canal Court Hotel including sports analytics company STATS Sports, data group FD Technologies and MJM Marine.
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast said the launch of the Ambassador Circle in Newry marks a new era of expanded collaboration between tourism, economic development, education and research which will be a game-changer for tourism recovery and development.
“Launched by Visit Belfast two decades ago, the Ambassador programme has been instrumental in driving Belfast’s global, award-winning reputation for delivering successful business events while raising the city and region’s international profile.
“Business events drive revenue for the tourism and hospitality sector, but crucially they help to promote the region as a place to work, live, study and invest and I’m delighted that Newry is supporting this important, strategic partnership to continue the great work which has been achieved.
“Crucially, the majority of business events come to Belfast and Northern Ireland through the support of a local ambassador which is why our strategic partnership with Invest NI and this milestone launch in Newry is important to continue this success at a local and regional level.”
Strategically-located on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have ambitious plans to drive Newry and the wider district’s economic growth.
The City Deal investment will see almost £200 million injected into the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area. This will provide a massive boost to the local economy and will be truly transformative for the district. It will see investment in a world class tourist facility in the Mournes, regeneration of the Newry city centre and will advance the Newry Southern Relief Road, improving connectivity across the island.
Welcoming the launch of the Ambassador Circle, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Michael Savage, said the new partnership would be instrumental in showcasing the Newry, Mourne and Down District, and Northern Ireland, as a compelling destination in which to meet, invest, live work and study.
“Celebrating 20 years as a city this year, Newry is a warm and welcoming destination with ambitions to fully realise its potential as a significant regional economic powerhouse which is future-focused on business growth, regeneration and investment.
“Joining forces with Visit Belfast, Invest Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland to officially launch a dedicated Ambassador Circle for our district will harness the huge support of local leaders in business, research and academia to power a new era of prosperity, growth and local, national and international recognition for a confident city and district that delivers for every visitor.
“I am confident that together we can advance our strategic plans to drive growth, innovation and investment that benefits the district and wider region while showcasing our local strengths, talent and skills.”
Mark Bleakney, Invest Northern Ireland’s Southern Regional Manager, said the initiative supports the organisation’s plans to build strong foundations for the local economy and the Department for Economy’s 10X economic vision for a decade of innovation strategy.
“Invest Northern Ireland is committed to supporting economic and business growth in the area. Hosting business events provides an opportunity to showcase the local area as a place to invest and do business. This can lead to legacy benefits such as helping to grow trade, stimulate innovation and attract investment through contacts made at business events. The Ambassador Circle provides a great opportunity to raise the profile of Newry, and support the local economy, by attracting more business events to the area.”
As part of the initiative, local businesses are now being invited join and to pledge their support by holding their own business events in Newry, supporting the development of local industry events and by encouraging customers, suppliers and the wider diaspora to develop or attend local events.
For more information on how we can help you bring your conference, meeting or event to Northern Ireland or on how to become an Ambassador, please contact Sarah Gribben at Visit Belfast [email protected] and for more information visit www.meetbelfast.com/ambassadorcircle.