Markets from across the UK recently celebrated their success in the National Great British Market Awards and Belfast Christmas Market was up there with the winners as it accepted the award for Best Market Attraction.
Organised by NABMA (National Association of British Market Authorities) and sponsored by Blachere Illuminations, The Great British Market Awards celebrate excellence in retail and wholesale markets across the UK. As recipients of a number of awards since its inception 14 years ago, the management team of Belfast Christmas Market were especially delighted that the judges recognised their continuing collaborative approach to business and the community.
NABMA President, Councillor Mrs Geraldine Carter said:
‘The applications for the Great British Market Awards 2020 have been inspiring and come from across the whole UK. As the future of our high streets continues to be under scrutiny, it is clear, that offering customers unique shopping opportunities along with great events and experiences, markets have an important place at the heart of our communities.’
Partnerships and collaboration has always been a key ingredient to the success of the Market Place Europe operation. The Judges (made up of industry leaders) specifically remarked on how Belfast Christmas Market works to ensure citywide benefit, engaging with partners from Council, BID, tourism and commerce to help maximise the benefit of the market to many. With a gross economic impact of £75,663k in 2019, there is no doubt the Christmas Market is a key seasonal attraction in the city.
The team behind Belfast Christmas Market work tirelessly to engage with the local community, an approach that is demonstrated in their on-going commitment to local students via free educational tours and workshop events for business students.
Market Manager Andy Pidgen said:
‘Year on year the market makes changes and offer new initiatives for young people. We know how popular the market is and how important it is for us to offer young entrepreneurs the chance to benefit from the platform the Christmas market offers. Watching a young business thrive at the market is so rewarding for all of us.’
Each year the Market donates the use of Santa’s Grotto to a local charity, giving them an opportunity to raise their profile and vital funds, judges in the Great British Market Awards remarked on the ‘particularly impressive’ charitable work of Belfast Christmas Market especially in light of with this year’s local charity Pretty N’ Pink raising an impressive £32,000.
The popularity of the market continues to grow beyond Belfast and Northern Ireland, providing a welcome boost to the cities’ international reputation. Over 1.2 million visitors came to the market in 2019, numbers coming from the Republic of Ireland grew by an impressive 5% and visitors from GB and elsewhere were also up by 2%
The Chief Executive of NABMA, David Preston, reminded award winners during his closing remarks about the return of the national Love Your Local Market campaign in May. The campaign is designed to celebrate the success and diversity of the UK’s markets during a two-week period from 16th May 2020. With the Spring Continental Market making its annual visit to Belfast from 21st – 25th May, it looks like the celebrations may continue…