Tourism Ireland invited top European coach tour operators to discover some of Northern Ireland’s Christian heritage this week, when they enjoyed a visit to Armagh which included a tour of the city’s two cathedrals.
The 29 operators from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway had participated in a workshop in Roscommon where they met with tourism providers from across the island of Ireland. Nearly all of the operators are new to Northern Ireland and their whistle-stop tour reflected some of the elements which may appear on their future coach holiday programmes, including Armagh, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra and the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.
Finola O’Mahony, Head of Europe for Tourism Ireland, said, “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring these European coach tour operators to Northern Ireland. ‘Seeing is definitely believing’ and it is important that influential operators like these get to experience places like Armagh at first-hand and the high standard of the tourism product on offer here. For many of the coach tour operators, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our spectacular scenery, the wealth of historic attractions, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met.
“Our autumn campaign is in full swing right now, capitalising on late booking trends as there is still everything to play for. In association with our industry colleagues we have enticing autumn/winter packages to offer European visitors, developed around festivals and themes such as food, music, literature and the arts.”
The tour operators’ fact-finding visit was organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Coach tour operators from Europe pictured in Armagh Public Library, during their recent fact-finding trip to Northern Ireland.
Further media information:
Elaine Moore / Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 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 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.