Belfast tapped 'academic expertise' to land £3m archeology conference

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Nikki Paterson, business solutions manager, tourism northern Ireland, Deborah Collins, head of business Nikki Paterson, business solutions manager at tourism northern Ireland, Deborah Collins, head of business Photo Credit: Supplied

More than 3,000 historical excavators met in Belfast for the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) annual conference in early September.

The four-day conference, which is the largest annual gathering of archaeologists in Europe, convened at Queen’s University and a variety of venues across the city.

Belfast won the bid to host the event back in 2019 with help from the Northern Ireland Ambassador Programme. Visit Belfast worked with Eileen Murphy, professor of Archaeology, School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s University Belfast, to successfully bid for the conference which received funding from Belfast City Council and Tourism Northern Ireland through its Belfast and Northern Ireland conference subvention scheme.

“With an increasing focus on archaeology and heritage and how we can learn from the past to help us both now and in our preparations for the future, I’m delighted that Belfast’s position as a leading, international academic centre of excellence in this field is at the centre of Europe’s largest annual gathering of almost 3,000 specialists in archaeology,” Murphy said.

The conference is thought to have generated around £3.4m for the local economy. 

Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Visit Belfast, the destination marketing management organisation (DMMO) for the Belfast City Region, said: “Belfast’s tourism recovery continues apace and the arrival of the European Association of Archaeologists conference to the city underlines the city’s award-winning ability to attract high calibre, internationally renowned organisations that delivers not only positive economic impacts but an unrivalled platform for local and global delegates to exchange expertise, drive innovation and champion best practice.”

Visit Belfast track is on track to deliver around £120 million to the local economy this year through its sales, marketing and visitor servicing activity.

Holly Patrick
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Holly Patrick
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A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.

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