Titanic Belfast has reopened after it closed more than four months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, with free admission for NHS health workers.
The visitor attraction is Northern Ireland’s second most popular tourist attraction, with 828,017 visits last year according to ALVA, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.
Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Frank McCoubrey was the first official visitor to the world-class experience since it closed on 18 March 2020. He got a preview of the visitor attraction ahead of its reopening on Saturday 1 August.
He said: “Titanic Belfast is synonymous with Belfast, it is an inspiring testament to RMS Titanic and our city. As First citizen, it was a privilege to be its first official visitor and experience the enhancements it has made for locals this year.
"There is no doubt that discovering the world-famous story on our doorstep evokes a sense of civic pride and I would encourage locals to support the world-leading attraction by visiting this summer.”
Until the end of the month, NHS workers can avail of the one-way self-guided themed tour throughout the galleries and SS Nomadic for free as a thank you for their work during the pandemic. They can claim their ticket before their visit by phoning in advance.
Judith Owens, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast commented, “We are absolutely delighted to open our doors again. Welcoming visitors, telling stories and creating experiences is what we do best.
“Now more than ever, we need the support of our city and Northern Ireland, and we’ve been working away behind the scenes to ensure that those who come to visit have a truly memorable Titanic experience.
For us, home is where the heart is and this has never been more apparent. As one of Belfast’s iconic symbols, we are always keen to play our part and reflect the city’s spirit.
"While everyone in Northern Ireland has done their bit, our NHS staff, from emergency services to healthcare workers, were are on the front line dealing with the spread of coronavirus and this is our way of saying thank you to our local heroes for their hard work and bravery.”
In addition to the tour, visitors will be able to experience the outdoor Discovery Tour, Titanic Foundation’s Out of Stores Exhibition and its new Maritime Mile Treasure Trail, which will be launched in August.
Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Titanic Foundation Limited, the charity that owns the iconic building, explained: “Together with Titanic Belfast, we wanted to offer more for our visitors.
"That’s why we have opened our archives for the ‘Out of Stores’ Exhibition in Titanic Belfast’s Andrews Gallery for those who want to learn more about the men who built the ship and will be launching our new Maritime Mile Treasure Trail so that local people and visitors can discover the history ingrained in this area whilst enjoying this expansive outdoor space in the heart of the city.” Titanic Belfast is also ‘We’re Good to Go’ registered and its Galley Café will be taking part in the government's ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Initiative.