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400,000+ readerS leisure opportunities 3 APRIL – 16 APRIL 2012 ISSUE 577 Daily news & jobs: £97m Titanic Belfast launches

Titanic Belfast, a major new £97m attraction in Northern Ireland, has opened 100 yards from where the ill-fated liner was launched a century ago. Civic Arts-Eric R Kuhne

and Associates were behind the concept design of the building, with Todd Architects acting as executive architects. Harcourt Construction built the new themed attraction. Te 14,000sq m (150,695sq

ft) building houses nine interpretative galleries that take visitors back to post- Edwardian Belfast to explore the history of Titanic. Event Communications worked on the content, with the nine areas including Te Launch; Te Sinking; and Te Aſtermath. Other facilities in the building include com-

Te year included the launch of Legoland Florida

Merlin visitor numbers up after £174m investment

Attractions operator Merlin Entertainments invested a total of £174m in its portfolio of attractions during 2011 – a year described as the “most exciting in company history” by chief executive officer Nick Varney. In the year to 25 December 2011, Merlin

Titanic Belfast’s striking design is similar to that of the ill-fated vessel Titanic Belfast is one of the five Northern

munity arts and education space, a large gallery for temporary exhibitions and cafés.

BHA: Budget 2012 ‘a missed opportunity’

George Osborne has “missed an opportunity” to increase the compet- itiveness of the UK hospitality and tourism sector in this year’s Budget. Te British Hospitality Association

(BHA) was among leaders from across the hospitality and attractions indus- try that had urged the chancellor to reduce VAT on tourism firms. However, Budget 2012 failed to

deliver any such reduction and the BHA said the move now leaves the UK with one of the highest VAT rates on hotel accommodation in Europe. Read more:


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Ireland Tourist Board tourism signature proj- ects that aim to boost the province’s offering. Details:

£8.1m SportHouse opened in London

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave has helped mark the official open- ing of a major new £8.1m sports complex in east London’s Mayesbrook Park. Built by Morgan Sindall, the LRK Associates-

designed SportHouse houses a 5,000sq m (53,820sq ſt) sports hall – one of the UK’s larg- est – fitted with Gerflor’s Taraflex flooring. Other facilities include a 300-station fitness

area equipped by Cybex; two full-size basket- ball courts; medical testing rooms; changing areas; and a 250-cover restaurant. SportHouse will be used by athletes from

200 countries as a training venue ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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LRK Associates designed the iconic new SportHouse Between 16 July and 9 September, it will be

handed over for use as a Games-time training venue by handball, athletics, Paralympic judo and wheelchair rugby competitors. Read more:

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saw total visitor numbers reach 46.4 million – an increase of 13.2 per cent. Like for like profits were up 7.2 per cent to £211.9m. Varney said: “We delivered a further step-

change in the performance of the business, while extending our international profile.” Read more:

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