The Routes Europe air service development forum was officially handed over from KrakÃ³w in Poland to Belfast in Northern Ireland – the destination for 2017, the forum said.
Routes Europe brings together leading airlines, airports and their stakeholders to discuss future air services in Europe. Over the last three days KrakÃ³w Airport has hosted this year´s event for 1,200 delegates from 110 airlines, 315 airports and 45 tourism authorities.
Invest Northern Ireland and Visit Belfast will host Routes Europe 2017 with support from Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Belfast International Airport and George Best Belfast City Airport.
Northern Ireland´s tourism industry has blossomed over the last 10 years to make a significant contribution to the country´s economy. Over 15 million visits were made to Northern Ireland´s attractions in 2014, with the top destinations being the Giant´s Causeway, Titanic Belfast, the Ulster Museum and Derry~Londonderry´s city walls.
Traffic is growing at Belfast´s airports with over seven million passengers in 2015. Belfast International´s passengers increased by nine percent to almost 4.4 million, while Belfast City´s passenger numbers increased by over 5 percent to 2.7 million.
The HBO TV series Game of Thrones has helped to boost tourism by bringing some of the country´s most stunning locations to the attention of a world-wide audience of millions. Partially filmed in Northern Ireland, Game of Thrones has acted as a catalyst for coach tours and sight-seeing trips for international fans of the programme.
Investment in Northern Ireland has also increased considerably during the last decade. Belfast-based projects include the Â£1 billion Titanic Quarter (the largest waterfront development in Europe) and the newly expanded Waterfront conference and exhibition centre.
Routes events are unique forums dedicated to the development of new air services. Five ´regional´ route development forums are held between February and July in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa/Middle East and Silk Road/Russian Commonwealth, and the flagship World Routes event takes place in September. http://www.routesonline.com
Routes was founded in 1995 and is part of the UBM EMEA division of UBM plc.