2012March 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 37 LONDONDERRYThe bureau says it has also started to work with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to provide business tourism statistics for a 'Business Tourism Barometer' (which will be available for consumption in the future.)"There is now a stronger interest in business tourism than ever before in Londonderry, with key industry partners and stakeholders working in close partnership to ensure we continue to grow conference business to the destination," added Thomas. Winning the accolade of UK CIty of Culture 2013 means big things for Northern Ireland's city of Londonderryhas greatly enhanced the profi le of the destination, leading to a signifi cant increase in conference enquiries and successful bids, especially from the GB and Republic of Ireland Association market," Thomas added.2011 was reportedly a strong year for events in Londonderry. The city hosted the Northern Ireland Public Service Association's conference, which attracted 500 delegates to the city for four days. This event has also been secured for 2012 and 2015. Other conferences that were hosted in the city in 2011 included the 'Forum for Cities in Transition' Annual International Conference, the Royal Naval Association Annual Conference and the British Medical Association GP Annual Conference. A DCVB Ambassador Programme has also helped secure a large proportion of the city's conference business for 2012 and 2013, according to Thomas. The programme is dedicated to forging relationships with the University of Ulster Magee Campus, a centre for Excellence for Mental Health and specialising in Peace and Confl ict Resolution Studies, and also Altnagelvin Hospital, which is home to the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre research innovation hub.Successful conference bids for 2012 and 2013 include the Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers Annual Conference the Forum for Access and Continuing Education Annual Conference, the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society Scientifi c Conference and the Medical Management Education Association.QUICK QUESTIONS WITH DCVB'S AOIFE THOMAS:How have you positioned your marketing efforts for the city?We concentrate our marketing efforts within the Great Britain and Republic of Ireland market. Association business is of particular focus.What are Londonderry's USP's?Londonderry is a walled city and in 2013 celebrates the 400th Anniversary of the 17th Century Walls which were built and are still owned by the Guilds of London. The City is a melting pot of cultural heritage and digital innovation.In light of the recent terrorist bombs in the city, is it safe?Londonderry, and Northern Ireland as a whole is an extremely safe destination to visit. The recent bombings were an isolated incident which thankfully has not seen a negative impact on business. Since then, we have successfully secured the All Ireland Fleadh which is the largest festival in Ireland celebrating Irish music, dance, language and culture it has the potential to attract over 300,000 visitors to the city and generate over £34m to the local economy.What are some of the developments for the city to come out of the new accolade?. The One City One Voice Regeneration Plan and the launch of the new Parade Ground at Ebrington, a former military site, aims to create a destination space for a range of business tourism activities with an outdoor standing capacity of up to 15,000 people. Regeneration company, Ilex, is working with the Culture Company to source an architecturally designed, iconic semi-permanent installation with a proposed capacity of 5,000 standing, 3,000 theatre-stye and 1,000 for banqueting which will signifi cantly enhance the city's capacity to host larger scale events.. The city's iconic Peace Bridge offi cially opened in June 2011 and will link the city centre with the Ebrington site adding a whole new dimension to the city's product.. A lighting strategy will also see the city's 400 year old walls and its 32 key buildings illuminated at night.
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