By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Belfast is launching an impressive new tourist attraction — the 100 million-pound ($160 million, €120 million) Titanic Belfast visitor center, which offers a taste of the excitement and opulence surrounding the doomed trans-Atlantic liner.
Some 100,000 tickets have already sold. Belfast is betting the center, which opens Saturday will deliver a lasting tourist tonic to the conflict-scarred city.
Any visitor's first impression will be of its stunning exterior: four jutting prows of the ship, lined in silver steel paneling six stories high. It sits beside the Belfast Lough dockside where the ship was built from 1909 to 1911 and set sail for her sea trials on April 2, 1912.
A three-week festival featuring talks, walks and seven stage shows, including "Titanic The Musical," also begins Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship's launching.
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