A MAJOR international investment conference opens in Belfast on Thursday in the hope of attracting hundreds of new jobs to boost the local economy.
DUP Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said the two-day event will be a “great showcase” for Northern Ireland.
Over 100 delegates will be attending the conference at Titanic Belfast from the USA, China and Japan.
First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness are hosting the conference.
The event is being seen as a positive sign that Northern Ireland’s economy is starting to turn the corner.
Prime Minister David Cameron is also expected to jet for the main event of the conference on Friday to address delegates.
It is hoped that international investors can add to that momentum in the coming months and years.
It is the first event of its kind in Northern Ireland since the global downturn began in 2008.
The conference begins with a reception at Hillsborough Castle in County Down.
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said he hoped the conference would help to build on previous successes and “take ourselves to another level economically”.
“It’s a great opportunity for Northern Ireland to showcase what we have to offer to the world,” he said.
“In the past we’ve had similar conferences which have, in the short to medium term, realised significant investment in Northern Ireland.
“Some of those brand names have been able to appreciate the great offering we have and have built on their investment to create more jobs.”