03 Nov 2011

The lucky winners of Tourism Ireland’s online training programme for travel agents in the Netherlands had the opportunity to experience the ‘spooktacular’ Hallowe’en celebrations of Londonderry at first-hand this week.

Flying in on board the inaugural bmibaby flight from Amsterdam to Belfast, the travel agents were ‘whisked up’ to the historic city of Derry to join in some of the Hallowe’en fun.  The agents were selected to visit as a reward for completing the online training devised by Tourism Ireland in the Netherlands; they were the top-performers from a group of 180 travel agents who undertook the programme.

The group’s itinerary, designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, included an overnight stay in the city.  The group then departed for a whistle-stop tour of the Causeway Coast, calling in at the Old Bushmills Distillery and the Giant’s Causeway before driving on to Belfast.

Karen van der Horst, Tourism Ireland Amsterdam, said: “Familiarisation trips such as this are a great way for us to showcase Derry and Northern Ireland to key influencers in the Dutch travel business.  This visit was also a great opportunity to tell the visiting travel professionals about the many exciting events planned for Northern Ireland under the banner of ‘NI 2012’, including the arrival of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in Londonderry next year and forthcoming events leading up to the UK City of Culture 2013.”

The inaugural bmibaby service from Amsterdam was warmly welcomed by Tourism Ireland, which will help boost tourism business from the Netherlands for all of Northern Ireland.  In 2010, an estimated 16,000 Dutch visitors came to Northern Ireland, a +9% increase on 2009.

Joining in all the Hallowe’en fun were Dutch travel agents with Laura Flanagan, Tourism Ireland (front row right) and tour guide Aidan McGuire (top right).


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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