Ten top French business travel planners – all specialists in arranging meetings, conferences and incentive trips overseas – were in Northern Ireland over the weekend, on a fact-finding visit. The group, invited here by Tourism Ireland in Paris, also included a writer from Voyages & Stratégie magazine, the leading magazine for corporate travel managers, meeting planners and business travellers in France.
The visit was an ideal opportunity for Tourism Ireland to showcase Northern Ireland to the influential group, so they could see at first-hand what’s unique about it as a business tourism destination – the superb business and conference facilities on offer here, as well as some of the many attractions that delegates can enjoy on the side lines of their conference or meeting. Highlights of the group’s time here included a cycling tour of Belfast and visits to St George’s Market and Titanic Belfast; as well a day in Co Down, where they checked out what the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Castle Ward and Ballywalter Park have to offer the French business tourism market. Their itinerary was put in place by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Fiona O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said: “We were delighted that these key decision-makers from the business tourism sector in France took the time to come and visit Northern Ireland – demonstrating their keen interest in doing business here in 2014 and beyond. This visit gave us a chance to show how Northern Ireland can meet the needs of the clients these buyers service. Seeing the wonderful accommodation, world-class venues, as well as our spectacular scenery, really helped enthuse them about Northern Ireland, to recommend it as the destination of choice to their clients.”
Tourism Ireland is working to grow business tourism to Northern Ireland – from France and other key markets around the world. The organisation’s busy programme of activity this year includes attendance at high profile events and promotions, workshops and networking events, e-marketing and familiarisation visits – highlighting the great facilities and good value rates available for meetings and conferences here. 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.
Caroline Phelan, Tourism Ireland (fourth left); Joanne Taylor, NITB (centre); and French business tourism buyers, enjoyed a cycling tour of Belfast.
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.