Eleven decision-makers from some of the top business tourism companies in the US enjoyed a visit to Belfast and Northern Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and leading destination management company, Moloney & Kelly Travel.
The group – which included senior representatives of companies involved in the MICE (meetings, incentive, conferences and events) industry, who organise international conferences, meetings and large-scale incentive events around the world – was here to discover more about the meeting facilities and accommodation here, as well as the many experiences business delegates can enjoy in Northern Ireland on the sidelines of their conference or meeting.
In addition to spending time in Belfast and enjoying the James Street South Cookery School with chef Niall McKenna, the group also had the opportunity to experience the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route, and visit the new Giant’s Causeway Centre, Dunluce Castle and the Old Bushmills Distillery.
Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President United States and Canada, said: “We are delighted that so many of these leading business tourism decision-makers have taken the time to visit Northern Ireland, to experience the superb facilities on offer here at first-hand. Business tourism is an important, high yield sector and Tourism Ireland is working hard to promote Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as a premier business tourism destination.
“2012 has been a very special year for Northern Ireland, with a wide range of anniversaries, events and developments which have provided an unprecedented opportunity to put Northern Ireland in the spotlight in a completely new way, to capture and hold the focus of world attention for the most positive reasons. Now, we are looking to next year, with the Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations and the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, which will provide fresh and compelling reasons for people around the globe to come and visit Northern Ireland.”
Business tourism is the most lucrative form of tourism, with visitors travelling here for business purposes spending about 2.5 times more than the average visitor.
Chef Niall McKenna, James Street South Cookery School, Belfast, ‘shows off’ a side of Irish smoked salmon to (l-r) Marie McKown, Tourism Ireland; Paul Albright, CMM Global, Texas; Joanne Taylor, NITB; Terri Hammond, HPN-Global, Texas; and Christine Niemann, TenDot Corporate Travel, Nebraska.
For further information:
Elaine Moore/Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 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.
• In 2011, 1.5 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of £368 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 2011, discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.