The Brand of Belfast
by Katie Gotta
Titanic has been forever memorialized due to the magnitude of press and media drawn from the famed Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet 1997 movie. Although, it wasn’t until Day 4 in Belfast that I grew to realize the impact that the illustrious ship had on the creation and rebuilding of the city itself.
Following The Troubles in the 90s (here’s a link to yesterdays blog post about it), violence had overridden the city and tourism had slipped. This all changed once the city further capitalized on it’s prized possession, the Titanic, built and celebrated by locals for decades throughout the city. Following the 1997 movie, the city aimed to help take advantage of the newfound fame of the ship by renaming the local studios in 2005 to be named the Titanic Studios (where Game of Thrones is now filmed) and created a towering 4 story interactive Titanic museum completed in 2012. Soon, a new brand was born. Belfast experienced a surge of growth due to this and tourists were further attracted to the city, spending more money at these museums and coming to the city from all over the world to visit the site with so much history.
When I first flew into Belfast on Day 1, one of the first things our taxi guide introduced us to were the enormous 96 and 1o6 meter cranes that helped build Titanic, nicknamed by locals “Samson and Goliath”. While many only care that these cranes helped build the Titanic, they also build hundreds of other White Star Alliance ships, and are forever embedded in the skyline of Belfast with no plans to be taken down anytime soon. These are continuous reminders to the city and all who visit it of the gem that the they possess, and the magnitude of the Titanic brand that Belfast has been able to capitalize on.