Northern Ireland stars of stage, screen and music came together for the launch in London of NI2012 ‘Your Time, Our Place’. The event, organised by Tourism Ireland, was attended by First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MLA, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA and by Tourism Minister Arlene Foster MLA.
The launch – for this year of unprecedented events and investment in Northern Ireland – saw luminaries of Northern Ireland turn out to support their home country and the impressive array of special events which will take place under the banner ‘NI2012’. Van Morrison headlined the event, which was compèred by TV presenter Eamonn Holmes. Guests included ITV presenter Christine Bleakley; comedian Patrick Kielty; ITV news anchor Dermot Murnaghan; actor, director and writer Simon Callow; and actor John Lynch. The event was also attended by business leaders and personalities from the travel industry, as well as influential travel media.
Taking centre stage in this major year for Northern Ireland will be the opening of the new, iconic Titanic Belfast, to coincide with the centenary of the liner’s fateful maiden voyage in April; as well as the new state-of-the-art visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway which opens later this year.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, said: “Tourism Ireland firmly believes that we are on the cusp of one of the most exciting years ever for tourism to Northern Ireland. NI2012 is all about harnessing the unprecedented opportunity to confidently put Northern Ireland on the global stage in a completely new way, to capture and hold the focus of world attention for all the most positive reasons. The superb programme of new attractions, events and historic anniversaries taking place in 2012, and indeed in 2013, will stimulate interest in Northern Ireland and help define what makes it different and why overseas visitors should choose to come here.
“Tourism Ireland will use every opportunity to present Northern Ireland in a way that clearly differentiates us from our competitor destinations, capturing the essence of a holiday here and highlighting our strengths – iconic experiences, warm, friendly people and value for money,” continued Gibbons.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Northern Ireland First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson; Tourism Minister Arlene Foster; Simon Calder, travel editor of The Independent; Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness; and TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, at the launch of NI2012 ‘Your Time, Our Place’ in London.
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.
• By the end of 2011, approximately 1.5 million overseas visitors will have come to Northern Ireland (+6% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately £340 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.