Titanic Belfast had 800,000 visitors in year

The number of visitors to Titanic Belfast has exceeded all expectations, according to Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

The first and deputy first ministers were at the attraction to mark its first anniversary.

According to figures compiled by Stormont, more than 800,000 people from 128 countries visited Titanic Belfast in its first year.

It had been predicted it would need 290,000 visitors a year to break even.

The £100m project opened at the end of March 2012.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "The exceptional success of Titanic Belfast continues to exceed all our expectations.

"The direct benefit to the Northern Ireland economy through tourism expenditure has totalled £54.3m.

"There can be no doubt that Titanic Belfast has proved a world renowned attraction and an achievement of which we should all be rightly proud."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: "Titanic Belfast has drawn in almost 500,000 visitors to the city in 2012 and positioned itself as a key attraction in its own right as well as a key motivator for pulling in visitors to the city.

"Employment has grown as a result of Titanic Belfast's worldwide appeal with an additional 970 full-time jobs created in Belfast.

"Titanic Belfast has had a very positive impact on our economy with its visitors contributing an extra £27.2m to the city's economy."

The six-storey visitors centre is close to the slipway where the Titanic was launched a century ago.

Its opening coincided with the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking, in which 1,502 people lost their lives.