Top tour operators from Great Britain, France, Germany and Denmark visited the St Patrick Centre and Down Cathedral, as part of a fact-finding trip to Downpatrick and Co Down over the weekend.
Flown in by Tourism Ireland to participate in the annual Meet the Buyer workshop, which is taking place in the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh this week, the tour operators enjoyed their pre-workshop tour which was themed around many of Northern Ireland’s ‘Big Houses’. As well as Down Cathedral and the St Patrick Centre, the tour operators also took in Mount Stewart House and Gardens, Castle Ward, The Argory, Blessingbourne Estate and Castle Coole.
The visit of the international tour operators was organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Welcoming the strong international attendance at this year’s Meet the Buyer workshop in Enniskillen, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring 90 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2014 – including 27 buyers who are here for the first time – which provides such an important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The high attendance of these buyers from around the world is a strong indication that interest in visiting Northern Ireland remains high and that it can, and is, competing with the best destinations in the world.
“Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way across the world, to highlight Northern Ireland and grow tourism in 2014 and beyond. We are placing a major focus on the Grande Partenza of next month’s Giro d’Italia – taking every opportunity to leverage the tourism benefits of this prestigious sporting event for Northern Ireland. And our new campaign with HBO and its hit TV series Game of Thrones will showcase Northern Ireland in a completely new way on the global stage. With our spectacular scenery, world-class visitor attractions and good value accommodation, Northern Ireland truly is a ‘must see’ destination. Our message is that there has never been a better time to come and visit Northern Ireland.”
Helena Conway, Tourism Ireland (right), with overseas tour operators on a fact-finding visit to Downpatrick. Also pictured are Dr Tim Campbell, director of the St Patrick Centre (left), and tour guide David McAnirn (second left).
For 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 2013, an estimated 1.789 million overseas visitors visited Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £438 million.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is ireland.com, which is rolling out in 11 different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.