A group of top American travel agents enjoyed a two-day fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland last week. Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in New York in conjunction with American Airlines and Aer Lingus, their itinerary was designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
The travel agents – all members of the top-producing US agencies including names like Ensemble, Virtuoso, American Express and Signature Vacations – had an opportunity to do a city tour of Belfast and an overnight in Belfast’s Merchant Hotel, before travelling northwards to enjoy a visit to the Old Bushmills Distillery and see the legendary Giant’s Causeway.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Vice-President of Marketing in the United States, said: “We are delighted so many of these influential travel agents took time out of their busy schedules to come and visit Northern Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our wonderful scenery, the wealth of cultural and historic attractions, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, especially this year – as they give us an opportunity to tell the visiting travel agents 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, ‘NI2012’ is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland in the US and elsewhere around the world.”
US travel agents pictured outside the Merchant Hotel with Mary O’Shea, Tourism Ireland New York (front row, left) and Ken McElroy, guide (back row, left).
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.