A group of influential conference and event planners – including representatives of the largest London 2012 Olympic sponsor, Sportsworld – visited Northern Ireland last week, as part of a fact-finding visit organised by Tourism Ireland.
The group included decision-makers from various large companies based in Great Britain, including Barclays, HSBC Private Bank and Imagination London. Tourism Ireland is working hard to promote Northern Ireland as a premier destination for conferences and events. This year, the organisation is also targeting the huge number of corporate clients and VIPs who will travel from all over the world to see the Olympic Games in London, encouraging them to add Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland to their Olympic itineraries. The aim of this visit was to whet the appetites of the participating decision-makers, with Tourism Ireland positioning Northern Ireland as the perfect ‘add on’ destination for corporates.
As well as enjoying a visit to Ballywalter Park in Co Down, where Lord and Lady Dunleath hosted dinner, the group’s itinerary – designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – also included a visit to the Titanic Quarter, a tour of Belfast City Hall and the Linen Hall Library.
David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s head of business and sports tourism, said: “The proximity of the 2012 Olympic Games provides Tourism Ireland with an excellent opportunity to highlight Northern Ireland. We intend to use the Olympics, and the surrounding global media coverage, to showcase Northern Ireland as a top holiday and business destination and will deliver our message to a wide range of prospective visitors and audiences through traditional, digital and social media.
“Business tourism is an important, high yield sector which can deliver significant economic benefits and Tourism Ireland is working hard to promote Northern Ireland as a premier destination for meetings, conferences and events. We were delighted that this group of key decision-makers took the time to visit Northern Ireland, to sample what is available here and to meet some of the main providers of our excellent tourism products.”
Tourism Ireland has kicked off a very busy promotional programme for 2012 in the GB market, with the roll-out earlier this week of a brand new advertising campaign. The campaign went live on television on channels including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky 1 and satellite channels. The soundtrack for the new TV ads – which carry the tagline ‘Jump into Northern Ireland’ – is taken from the latest album, Fallen Empires, by Co Down band Snow Patrol.
Leading GB conference and event planners at Ballywalter Park, Co Down, with Willie Lougheed, Northern Ireland Tourist Board (front, left); Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland (second from left); and Lord and Lady Dunleath, Ballywalter Park.
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.