Titanic Belfast ready to open

Published Friday, 30 March 2012
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The First and deputy First Ministers have attended a glittering gala dinner at the new Titanic Belfast on the eve of its official opening.

Titanic Belfast ready to open
The entrance to the Titanic Belfast visitor centre (© Pacemaker)

Almost 100,000 tickets have already been pre-sold for the world's biggest Titanic visitors attraction's first year in business.

The £97m flagship building, which is opening to coincide with centenary commemorations of the ship's sinking, was six years in the planning and took three years to build.

On Friday night, First Minister Peter Robinson hailed Titanic Belfast as "a world leader."

The DUP leader told UTV: "I think anybody who looks around this facility will see that this is the cutting edge of a visitor experience."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described the opening of Titanic Belfast as possibly "the most important tourist event of 2012" anywhere in the world.

"I predicted when Peter and I were in the United States last week that this would be a world news story by this week and that has come to pass over the last 24 hours - and I think will continue to be right up to the 14/15 April when the actual Titanic sank."

He said the worldwide headlines generated by the attraction's opening would result in major numbers of tourists from all over the globe coming to visit the centre.

Mr McGuinness said the opening made a "very bold statement" to the world about looking to the future while not forgetting the past.

This is a world top ten - there is no equal to this anywhere in Northern Ireland and indeed not far beyond it either.

Peter Robinson

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said it was a remarkable achievement that the project was completed on time and within budget.

She said: "We should all be proud of and celebrate Belfast's world famous shipbuilding and maritime history that created Titanic. It was the largest moving man-made object of its time and the many other incredible vessels that were built in Belfast by our skilled tradesmen.

"I am confident that Titanic Belfast will be a visitor experience of international quality and be one of the most exciting and dramatic tourism projects opening in 2012 anywhere in the globe."

"We must never forget the enormity of this tragedy or forget those who died."

Inside the building, the story of Titanic's tragic demise is told as well as the ship's story right from the very beginning.

The exhibition is designed as an experience rather than a museum, with visitors progressing through nine galleries to discover what is was like to build the most famous ship in the world - and to sail in her.

A virtual tour of the ship, it uses the same technology as in the movie Avatar. The modern special effects make visitors feel like they are on Titanic and the attention to detail makes the experience real.

The word Titanic stands for all things luxurious and a visit to the banqueting hall, complete with staircase, is the epitome of the grandeur experienced by first class passengers.

But, there is also the chance to step into the lives of the original shipyard workers with a ride in a cage lift that transports you right to the top of the gantry.

Titanic Belfast is a chance to see life as it was then for all of the classes who sailed and worked on the doomed liner.

It will open at 12 noon on Saturday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
17 Comments
Tomc in Belfast wrote (902 days ago):
Joey. I must say I agree with what you posted. It's a lot of buck for limited bang and not exactly in the spot of spots...opens 2012 amid great hype, but in 2015 will it still have the draw? Time will tell....Locals who want to see it will, and the rest is up to tourism....which isn't exactly revenue busting at the mo.
turquoisetree53 in Europe wrote (902 days ago):
Interesting to see what Auditor General thought, in report published December 2011.it will be worth keeping an eye on whether Arlene Foster's dept, has to find a further £24million out of public purse, to make up for the EU potentially refusing to pay owing to questions on Contact Tendering.
n.i.nemesis in derry wrote (902 days ago):
Joe in Ballycastle. Well said. It's becoming near impossible to watch UTV news programmes since this obscene titanicfest started. The titanic centre is indeed an ugly scar sitting in the middle of a wasteland on the Lagan, but i suppose its apt since it's in line with the ugly history of the yard that spewed the ship out. The media here need to SHUT UP about it.
Joey in Ballycastle wrote (903 days ago):
100 million pounds spent and I fail to see the reason it took this amount of money to attract people to Belfast. This was and is the most brutal structure I could have ever imagined representing a time of elegance and engineering. Locally it is called the 'iceberg on the slipway' and I wonder why. Architecturally it will date as quick as a banana in the sun, the concept of angular buildings is not new nor innovative, they can be seen in France, Germany and the US, it is not unique, only in its cost and the gullibility of those who bought it. Southampton spent 24 million on their titanic museum why did we not spend double that, not quadruple, and made the Drawing rooms and Harlands Offices the feature and a People's Park over the slipway area. We have already the authenticity and attraction of the Nomadic, Alexandria Dock, the Thompson Pumphouse and Dock..and HSM Caroline..we did not need this megalith imposed upon the historic landscape. Investing several million into taking the homeless off the streets of Belfast by providing housing for them, tidying up our coastal villages and investing in tourism infrastructures outside of Belfast would have been a far, far better investment.... But no they were hell bent on the iconic 'every city must have' building, they wanted the big bang and they ended up with a lemon. I agree with one of the posts here, this will be the biggest white elephant that the city has ever built. This is not the Eiffel Tower, Sidney Opera House or the Empire State Building as it has been compared to, this is a brutal building on the skyline and well described as an 'iceberg on the slipway'.
Brian in Belfast wrote (903 days ago):
Give it a year or two and it'll probably go down like the Titanic. A waste of money that could have been put to better use in schools and hospitals.
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