The Ulster Branch of the IRFU was ‘highly commended’ in the event category at Wednesday evening’s Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.
The IRFU Ulster Branch was nominated in the event category of the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards for their hosting of the IRB Under-19 World Championship in April of last year.
The world championship saw 24 national teams compete in the three-week tournament with 60 matches played across six venues.
Receiving a ‘highly commended’ award at the gala ceremony on Wednesday, the Ulster Branch was pipped to the post by the North West 200 which took the top honour in the category.
The IRB Under-19 World Championship was held in Belfast and Bangor in April 2007 and teams came from all over the world and from as far afield as Australia, Fiji, the USA and Canada to participate.
The matches drew crowds of over 60,000 people from across Northern Ireland, the Republic, the UK and further afield.
Live television coverage of the tournament in over 80 countries worldwide showcased Northern Ireland as a tourist destination.
In all, it is estimated that the tournament benefitted the Belfast economy by £7.1 million and 20% of spectators at the tournament were visiting Belfast and experiencing all the city had to offer for the first time.
Tournament visitors cited the good atmosphere, friendly people and wide range of things to do in Belfast as real plus points.
Socially, the tournament had a very positive effect on civic pride, fostered new friendships and encouraged a spirit of volunteerism, all while leaving a legacy that has and will continue to have a significant effect on the development of rugby in Ulster.