Belfast is a city full of ambition, optimism and above all, energy. It’s a talented, competitive and connected city. As the cultural and business heart of the region, Belfast is a key driver of the economy of Northern Ireland.
It is home to many global companies and thriving high-growth sectors. Significant strengths include creative industries and digital innovation, financial and professional services, technology and advanced engineering.
Belfast is also one of the most vibrant and exciting city break destinations, full of unique attractions, great food and friendly faces. With a compact centre, it offers eclectic quarters and neighbourhoods, each with something special to uncover and enjoy, from history and art to music and everything in between.
It’s the city that built Titanic and many other famed ships. With over 150 years of marine manufacturing experience, world-renowned ship-builder Harland & Wolff supports the needs of the maritime, offshore and renewable energy sectors. Belfast is also a global leader in aerospace engineering and has been home to Bombardier Aerospace for over 70 years.
Steeped in this rich engineering heritage, today’s Belfast is brimming with knowledge, skills and experience. This sector contributes over £1 billion to the local economy and Belfast Harbour is now helping to push the boundaries of sustainable ferry transportation.
Research and development is at the core of Belfast’s growth in this sector. The city is home to the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre (NIACE), bringing engineering companies and knowledge providers together to develop technical expertise and help support innovation and product development. Belfast is also the number one destination for new software development projects in Europe and is rapidly developing a global reputation in the new knowledge and digital economies. This includes areas such as finance, e-commerce, cybersecurity and the creative industries – particularly film and television.
Belfast’s young population and highly skilled workforce provides a wealth of talent across the film, animation, music, mobile, gaming and TV sectors. It’s a diverse and accessible supply chain for the creative and digital industry. Local universities play a leading role in creating spinouts and pioneering research. For example, the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology Facility at Queen’s University Belfast has revolutionised cancer research. And the Connected Health Innovation Centre at Ulster University leads transformational research which aligns care needs with technology providers, researchers and clinical experience.
Belfast is home to global businesses in financial software, data analytics and encryption as well as access control systems and intelligent surveillance technologies. It’s also Europe’s leading destination city for new medical software development projects. The city’s strong creative and digital sectors and R&D engineering expertise have supported this sector’s growth.
Belfast is not only a great place to do business – it’s also a great place to visit and tourism is flourishing. It was voted the world’s number one destination in 2018 by Lonely Planet and in 2019 it attracted a total of 151 cruise ships. The Titanic Belfast visitor attraction welcomes one million visitors per year and was named the Best International Experience in 2018.
Voted the world’s number one best food destination in 2018, Belfast is also known for its high-quality eateries, including several Michelin star restaurants and includes world class venues for music, theatre and entertainment.