03 Nov 2011

On board the inaugural bmibaby flight from Amsterdam to Belfast earlier this week was a group of Dutch travel professionals, flying in for a whistle-stop tour and a chance to experience our tourism product at first-hand.

The group – influential travel agents and tour operators from around the Netherlands – was invited here by Tourism Ireland in Amsterdam in conjunction with bmibaby.  Their itinerary, designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, included a walking tour of the Titanic Quarter as well as an opportunity to sample and cook some of Northern Ireland’s top-quality, locally produced food at the Belfast Cookery School.

Working closely with airlines to build demand for routes is a key priority for Tourism Ireland and this new service will bring a welcome boost for tourism business from the Netherlands to Northern Ireland.  The new bmibaby service was warmly welcomed by Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons, who said: “We look forward to working closely with bmibaby to maximise the promotion of this new route in the Netherlands.  Tourism Ireland is committed to working with bmibaby, Belfast City Airport and other tourism interests to drive demand for this new service, and all other services to Northern Ireland, and to help maintain our vital network of routes and services.

“Familiarisation trips such as this are a great way for us to showcase Northern Ireland to key influencers in the Dutch travel business.  This visit was also a great opportunity to tell the visiting tour operators and travel agents about the many exciting events planned for Northern Ireland under the banner of ‘NI 2012’.  With the opening of iconic new attractions like Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre next year, ‘NI 2012’ is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland.”

In 2010, an estimated 16,000 Dutch visitors came to Northern Ireland, a +9% increase on 2009.

                                                                                                                   ‘Cooking up a storm’ at the Belfast Cookery School are Dutch travel agents and tour operators with Karen van der Horst, Tourism Ireland Amsterdam (second from left). 


Further media information: 
Elaine Moore / Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 028 7035 9260   Mob:  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 supports approximately 40,000 jobs.
• Approximately 1.4 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately £210 million. 
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 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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