ASGBI GM, Bhavnita Patel, was the first to use it for their CongressWith something new, you expect teething troubles. With something that is new and very big, you can expect major teething troubles. However, the client who was the first to use the huge extension to Belfast Waterfront has not a single word to say about problems, because there were none.
Bhavnita Borkhatria Patel is General Manager of ASGBI, Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. Their Annual Congress was the first event to use the extended Belfast Waterfront facilities. Bhavnita has been at the ASGBI for 14 years and has been GM since January 2016.
‘It had been traditional for the Association to use a venue in the President’s home town’, she told ITCM. ‘John Moorehead is from Belfast, but we had been using three other conference centres in the UK on a rotating basis, as Belfast simply didn’t have anything that could accommodate us.
‘However, we found that the enlarged Belfast Waterfront with the 4,000sqm extension had everything we required and we were able to hold our 3-day event there in May this year. We were not disappointed. It was an absolute success and the feedback from delegates was brilliant.’
There were about 1,000 delegates to the Congress and the accompanying exhibition required an extra 100 or so attendees. Amongst the delegates there were trainees.
‘Very convenient to the venue’, Bhavnita adds, ‘was a complete range of hotels from basic up to 5-star, so no one had a problem - not only in matching their accommodation to their budget, but in finding a place within, at most, 10-minutes walking distance of Belfast Waterfront. In fact, that was a major benefit highlighted by the feedback following the event.
‘Belfast is such a compact city, so everything was very conveniently located. We, as organisers, were not required to lay on any transport to shuttle people to and from the venue. Not even for the social events that were held in the evenings.’
Delegates also commented favourably on the number of other facilities that were in the locality, including restaurants, bars, cafes.’ An important point that Bhavnita was keen to make to ITCM was the welcome shown to the delegates by the people of Belfast.
‘There was a buzz in the city’, is how she describes it. ‘Everyone made us feel genuinely welcome.
‘And it is also important to emphasise that we were all pleased at the very reasonable prices charged for everything. There couldn’t be any complaints about costs, compared with other cities we visit.’
Full details of Belfast Waterfront facilities can be seen at: www.waterfront.co.uk