The newly opened Titanic Hotel in Belfast has been getting positive buzz. Conde Nast Traveler paid it a visit and it looks pretty spectacular. Formerly the drawing offices for Harland & Wolff, it is now a window to the past with a style for people of our time. The 119 room hotel features modern amenities while showing off the history of Belfast and Titanic.
“It is not quite a museum, but this is so much more than a hotel,” hotel manager Adrian McNally told The Irish News. “It is a unique guest experience and a journey into how the building would have looked when the Titanic designers sat here, working in the drawing offices—one of which is now a ballroom and the other a restaurant and bar.”
Clive Palmer’s plan to build Titanic II appears dead but a Chinese full size replica is on course to be built. According to China.org.cn a full size replica will be assembled at the end of this year. The replica will be the exact size of the original Titanic and will cost 1 billion yuan. Everything from door knobs to menus will look as if it was on the original Titanic (except some modern necessities as needed of course). The replica will also employ the use of a Titanic Sinking Simulator so that visitors will experience what it was like to be aboard when the ship was sinking. The replica will be permanently docked at a theme park in the Qi River in Daying County, Sichuan. It is scheduled to open in 2018.
Source:Life-Size Replica Of Titanic To Be Assembled Late This Year(China.org.cn,17 Aug 2016)
Titanic Belfast just celebrated its three millionth visitor recently. Since it opened in 2012, Titanic Belfast has seen a steady stream of tourists from all over the world. They recently had their busiest day when 4,200 people came through the doors beating down previous numbers. Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands notes “We have spent over £1m refurbishing and refreshing three or four of the galleries because obviously Titanic is a story that can be told in so many different facets.”
Source: Titanic Belfast Welcomes Its Three Millionth Visitor(Irish Times,15 Aug 2016)
*Lion Heart Autographs will be putting up for auction a custom card filled out by a Titanic survivor aboard Carpathia. The custom card was filled out by first class passenger Caroline Bonnell. The card is estimated auction price is $8,000-$10,000. They are also auctioning off ten telegrams related to the sinking of the Titanic including two from evangelist “Billy” Sunday. The estimated auction price for the telegrams is $3,000-$5,000. The auction is being conducted online through 15 June 2016.
*Believe it or not but there is something called Tourism Oscars reports Belfast Telegraph. And for the first time since these awards have around for 23 years, an Irish attraction called Belfast Titanic could possibly win the award.
*Megan Ross, age 10, won a contest to design the 105th anniversary cake for SS Nomadic Belfast Live reports. Way to go Megan! She also won the opportunity for her class to visit the last remaining ship of the White Star Line.
*A celebrity recently, desiring for more attention or something, decided to be like Kate Winslet in James Cameron’s Titanic in baring her top in a selfie. Sorry but I do not see the guys racing to see this one.
*People visiting Titanic Belfast of late have been experiencing a very warm experience. Which apparently is bringing out a lot of people since it does not usually get near 70F/21C. Temperatures have soared up to 23C/74F. Usually travelers are advised to bring a sweater, a jacket for rain or cool nights and an umbrella. You can skip the sweater but keep a jacket and umbrella handy. Weather Underground reports that rain is expected in the next few days. A perfect opportunity to slip inside a small place for some good company and food as well.
It is usually the case that when you have an increase in revenues and people attending your tourist attraction, you make money. Not so for Titanic Belfast in 2015 reports Belfast Telegraph. The Telegraph reports this is despite the fact that revenues went up by 7% during that year and that it attracted 625,000 visitors. So what caused the drop in revenue? The newspaper reports:
The drop in profit arose chiefly from the firm’s administrative expenses increasing from £6.27m to £7.42m. And the average number of staff employed last year increased from 134 to 153 with staff costs increasing from £2.17m to £2.45m.
So hiring nineteen people cut into expenses pretty seriously. That tells a lot about the cost of labor these days in NI. And probably why visiting the attraction will soon cost more.
The Belfast headquarters–and former home of Titanic designer Thomas Andrews–of the International Football Association (IFA) will be put up for sale. The IFA bought the house in 1960 from the Dixon family but it was the home where Andrews lived with his family before his tragic death when Titanic went down in 1912. The house was originally built in 1863 and while many of its features remain (the staircase that inspired the one on Titanic,stained glass windows, and fireplaces),an attachment to the property was built for the IFA. A plaque indicating that it was once the home of Thomas Andrews is on the outside. According to Belfast Telegraph, visitors have come to see the home and the stairs that inspired Andrews. The IFA is moving to a new location in February and the sale price was not listed in the article.
Source:For Sale: IFA Puts Historic HQ Where Designer Of Titanic Once Lived On The Market(Belfast Telegraph,1 Dec 2015)
An iconic Titanic mural painted in 2003 had become shabby looking due to weathering. Located at the corner of Newtownards Road and Dee Street in Belfast, the mural had become a destination for bus and taxi tours. Painted in black and white, the mural honors the ship and the workers who built it. John Stewart, who was the artist who created the mural, was able to raise £3,000 ($4,595 USD) to help complete the restoration that took six weeks.
“I’m delighted with how it looks now and I can’t wait to start my next project.”
(John Stewart to Belfast Telegraph)
According to a UTV news report, Titanic Belfast is a major economic boost to Belfast exceeding original targets. Between April 1, 2012 when Titanic Belfast began to March 2015 ,900 jobs have been created. 1.9 million people attended the galleries along with conferences and special exhibitions that drew people in as well.
The figures also show that most visitors were from outside Northern Ireland (over 71%). Visitors spend money in lodging, food, sightseeing, and of course all kinds of extra purchases that put money into the economy. Titanic was a tragedy but celebrating its loss has proven to be a major boost for Belfast.
1. The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices (closed since 1989)have a new lease on life. There is now a plan for a 84-room boutique hotel and using the space to “tell the story of Belfast’s industrial heritage, focusing on the Board Room, Telephony Room and Entrance Lobby.”
Source:Luxury Hotel Has Designs On Derelict Titanic Offices In Belfast(18 Feb 2015,Belfast Telegraph)
2.A statue to Titanic captain Edward J. Smith stands in Lichfield but how it came to be there is an interesting story. Locals did not pay for it but wealthy Americans and Britons. And its placement in Beacon Park was not without disagreement. Locals did not like a statue being paid for by wealthy Americans who sailed on a British ship. The statue was put up anyway but omitted any reference to Titanic until much later. Today of course it is a popular stop for tourists.
Source:The Way We Were: Controversy surrounding the statue of Titanic captain Edward Smith(The Sentinel,18 Feb 2015)
Over in the U.K. television personality Jeremy Paxman decided to take a swing at Belfast in a recent article. He wrote, in part, that the iceberg did Belfast a favor and they ought to rename Titanic Quarter as Iceberg Quarter. An uproar resulted from these comments but his thrust was that millions spent to revitalize Belfast were wasted before the city decided to become a tourist destination. Locals have a different view of the matter calling his comments offensive, wrong and misleading. He apparently was recently there and had a meal in Titanic Quarter and noted that the Christmas market “offered the odours of 40 varieties of food you could not think of eating.”
Okay we get the point, you are not a fan of Belfast, Northern Ireland, these days. Perhaps you have a point about the tax money spent when, if they had played their cards right earlier, they could have used lots of private capital to achieve better results. Belfast and Titanic were not that close until fairly recently. For a lot of years it was remembered as the place it was built, the workers who had by hand put the ship together, and the sadness over the loss. Sure there were people that kept it alive but Belfast moved on and had bigger problems to deal with. Then with the growing interest in Titanic and thanks to a very popular movie, the lights clicked about the opportunities Titanic offered them by becoming a major attraction for Titanic enthused travelers. And it worked from what the numbers reveal.
What he said was tacky trying to create a hypothetical that if Titanic had never existed or never sunk, Belfast would be just a backwater in the United Kingdom. Most people are smart enough to avoid the foot-in-mouth disease. He may have said it just to generate the controversy he wanted. After all it set off a firestorm in Belfast as locals raced to microphones to criticize his comments and point out what a dolt he was for saying them. Some television personalities like to do this sort of thing to attract viewers, At any rate we here at Titanic News Channel award him our oft imitated and never duplicated Fractured Finger Award. We usually award this to dummies who use Titanic cliches but we make an exception in this case. Award not suitable for framing.