Continuing its push to grow tourism from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries, Tourism Ireland invited a group of leading Indian tour operators to visit Northern Ireland this week.
The travel experts kicked off their visit with a trip along the scenic Causeway Coastal Route, stopping off at the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge before visiting the Giant’s Causeway and the Bushmills Distillery. Following an overnight stay in Belfast, the group enjoyed a tour of the city with stops at the iconic Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic, the Ulster Museum and Belfast Zoo (winner of this year’s Northern Ireland Tourism Award for “best visitor experience”). The tour operators’ itinerary was designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Huzan Fraser, Tourism Ireland India, said: “We are delighted that these influential tour operators have taken time out from their busy schedules to travel to Northern Ireland. For all of them, it was their first visit and they were extremely impressed by the wonderful scenery, rich heritage, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, as they help to showcase what’s on offer in Northern Ireland for potential holidaymakers from India.
“The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core tourism markets of Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by India and the other BRIC countries. Latest estimates by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) suggest that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020 and we believe this market could play a significant part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in the coming years.”
Nilam Patil, Tourism Ireland India (third left), with Indian tour operators, enjoying a walk across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Co Antrim.
Further media 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 2012, 1.55 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of £418 million.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.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.