Journalists from Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain spent time in Belfast recently, exploring its emerging music and festival scene. The visit, arranged by Tourism Ireland and facilitated by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, is part of Tourism Ireland’s promotion overseas this year of Belfast as the ‘City of Music’, highlighting the rich musical heritage of the city.
The journalists enjoyed the Oh Yeah Music Tour around Belfast, the atmosphere and culture of Féile an Phobail, including a performance by Damien Dempsey (referred to by The Times as the ‘Bob Marley of Ireland’), and experienced live traditional music at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in West Belfast. The group also met with the organisers of the Ulster Bank Festival at Queens and the Belsonic and Open House Festival and were briefed on the exciting events planned for these festivals in the autumn.
Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Northern Ireland, said: “There is no substitute for being able to come here and experience what Belfast and Northern Ireland have to offer at first-hand. Visits such as this by influential journalists provide Tourism Ireland with a wonderful opportunity to showcase Belfast as a ‘City of Music’ in the international marketplace, as the articles the journalists will write when they return home will be read by thousands of potential holidaymakers.
“In these very competitive times, it is important to have ‘stand-out’ and compelling reasons to visit Belfast and Northern Ireland, and we are delighted to be able to capitalise on and highlight the continued growth in the festival scene and musical events around the city.”
Enjoying the music at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in Belfast are (l-r) journalists Rinus Vrijdag, the Netherlands; Holger Vonhof, Germany; and Kees Bakker, the Netherlands with local musicians Ciara O’Neill, John O’Neill and Gavin O’Connor.
For further information:
Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
T: 028 7035 9260 / 07766 527719
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is responsible for in excess of 4.9% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supported approximately 40,000 jobs.
• Over 1.4 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland in 2009, delivering revenue of £271 million.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 41 different websites, providing information in 19 different languages covering every continent. In 2009 discoverireland.com attracted a record 13+ million unique visitors, a +34% increase in visits on 2008.