Tourism Ireland invited twenty-five leading Great Britain coach and group tour operators to Northern Ireland last week, for a workshop with local tourism providers. Within that group, ten companies were visiting Northern Ireland for the first time. The event was organised jointly by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, to encourage the visiting operators to feature Northern Ireland as a new destination in their programmes or to extend the Northern Ireland content of their existing programmes.
Following the workshop, the operators took the opportunity to take part in a familiarisation trip, which highlighted the unique Titanic tourism product that Northern Ireland now has to offer. Their itinerary included a Belfast city orientation tour by coach; a tour of the Titanic Quarter, visiting the Titanic Drawing Rooms and the Titanic Dock and Pump House; followed by a Titanic boat tour highlighting the many Titanic landmark points of interest around Belfast Harbour. The group then continued to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum to see the TITANICa exhibition which has more than 500 original artifacts associated with the ill-fated ship.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Great Britain, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted these influential coach and group operators have had the opportunity to experience for themselves the high standard and variety of product Northern Ireland has to offer potential GB visitors. NI 2012, including the launch of Titanic Belfast and the opening of the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, presents us with a significant opportunity to deliver a new message to people in GB and around the world and to position Northern Ireland as a ‘must-see’ destination.
“Tourism Ireland has an extensive promotional campaign under way right now in Great Britain, including our autumn TV campaign which will reach up to 18.5 million potential holidaymakers, highlighting what makes a holiday in Northern Ireland unique and truly memorable. Our message is that there has never been a better time to visit, with great value and terrific things to see and do and these coach and group operators have now had the chance to experience this at first-hand.”
Elaine Murray, Tourism Ireland; David Martin, ICT, London; David Cunningham, Discover Travel and Tours, Edinburgh; Aidan Naylor, Action Tours, Shropshire; and Stephanie Greenwood, Shearings Holidays, Wigan, during a visit to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Co Down.
For further 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.