The Titanic Center in Belfast has welcomed a record visitor of numbers during its first year in operation.

It was revealed that more than 800,000 people from 128 countries visited the building. The £100m project opened at the end of March 2012.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness attended an event to mark the one year anniversary of the opening of the center.

McGuinness said: "This building has done everything the cynics and sceptics said it could not do. It has been an enormous success."

"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."

According to the centre management, 807,340 people visited during the year - 471,702 from outside Northern Ireland. The direct economic benefit through tourism expenditure totalled £54.3 million, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board chairman Howard Hastings said: "It seems a distant memory now, but it is only 18 months since the Northern Ireland Audit Office was casting doubt over whether Titanic Belfast would make its projected break-even figure of 290,000 visitors."

The six-story visitor center in Belfast Is situated beside the slipway where the Titanic was launched a century ago. The largest passenger liner in service at the time, the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912 claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people.

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The Titanic visitors center at the center of Belfast's Titanic QuarterGoogle Images