Posted on Monday 17 October 2011 by Ulster Business

No icebergs ahead for Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast, the £97m showpiece of Northern Ireland’s tourism industry, is on schedule to be delivered on time and on budget – and details of what the attraction will include have raised expectations it will prove to be a huge draw.

The 93 ft high building is expected to attract 400,000 visitors a year, with 100,000 expected to be from out of state including 50,000 unique visitors who have not been her before, according to Chief Executive Tim Husbands.

On the final hard hat tour of the building before interior fit out begins in earnest, Mr Husbands said that 20,000 visitors were already booked in through tour groups, six months ahead of its scheduled opening on March 31, 2012.

Tickets for Titanic Belfast are expected to be priced at between £5 and £13.50, he said.

Husbands also revealed that 70 events and conferences had already been booked for the building’s banqueting suite, around a quarter of which are from out of state.

The banqueting suite can accommodate up to 1,000 people and its stage will be a replica of the grand staircase on the ship.

Project manager Noel Molloy said the building is being set up as a visitor attraction rather than museum but that it will aim to be respectful of the story of Titanic. It will recreate the feel and sounds of Belfast 100 years ago and include extensive use of cutting edge audio visual technology and interactive equipment.

“We don’t do Disney, we do everything in a fairly subtle way,” he said. “It will be entertainment but it will also be respectful.”

Molloy said the team working on Titanic Belfast had “market tested the life our of it” to ensure it was a “world class” attraction that uses Belfast’s place in the Titanic story in a way that can’t be replicated elsewhere.

“Something like this comes along once in a lifetime and we’ve got to make the most of it,” he said.

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