21 Oct 2011

Influential tour operators from emerging tourism markets including China, Japan, India and the GCC countries were in Northern Ireland this week to attend a B2B workshop and take part in a familiarisation trip.  Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with NITB, the visiting operators were here to experience at first-hand what Northern Ireland has to offer holidaymakers from these countries. 

The aim of the trip was to encourage the tour operators to feature Northern Ireland as a new destination in their tour programmes or to extend the Northern Ireland content of their existing programmes.  Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Australia and Developing markets, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring these influential tour operators to Northern Ireland, so they can experience for themselves the high standard of the tourism product on offer here.  Familiarisation trips such as this are an invaluable way of showcasing Northern Ireland to influential travel professionals. 

“The majority of our overseas visitors are from the core markets of Great Britain, Mainland Europe and North America, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by emerging tourism markets.  The Asia-Pacific region offers exciting possibilities for tourism to Northern Ireland in the medium- to long-term as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has forecast that it will be one of the fastest-growing regions for outbound travel in the next ten years. 

“This visit was also a great opportunity to tell the visiting tour operators all about the many exciting events planned for Northern Ireland under the banner of ‘NI2012’.  With the opening of iconic new tourist attractions like Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre next year, ‘NI2012’ is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland around the world.”

Tourism Ireland has already begun the promotional lead-in to NI2012, and the next 12 months will see an investment of millions of pounds in the most extensive programme of marketing activity ever undertaken for Northern Ireland.  This will include TV, press, radio and cinema advertising, extensive online campaigns and social media activity, promotional events and publicity.

                                                                                                                 Having a ‘sneak’ preview of the iconic Titanic Belfast building are tour operators from China, India, Japan and the GCC countries with Susan Byrne, Tourism Ireland (right).


For further press information:
Elaine Moore / Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 028 7035 9260  Mobile: 077 6652 7719

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 supports approximately 40,000 jobs.
• Approximately 1.4 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland in 2010.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 45 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent.  In 2010 discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.




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