A group of leading tour operators from India was on a fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland recently. They had been in London, attending the ‘Best of Britain and Ireland’ holiday show, prior to joining the familiarisation trip, organised by Tourism Ireland and supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
These tour operators represent some of the largest tourism businesses in India, including independents and multi-national agencies such as Thomas Cook. Most of them specialise in family holidays but also sell honeymoon packages and niche holidays.
Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s Head of New & Developing Markets, said: “Awareness building visits such as these are extremely important, to help increase knowledge of Northern Ireland among potential holidaymakers in India. This visit will result in better informed tour operators putting together itineraries for Indian travellers next year, who will be much more likely to include Northern Ireland.”
“The Indian market offers exciting possibilities for tourism to Northern Ireland in the medium to long term. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has forecast that the Asia-Pacific region will be one of the fastest growing regions for outbound travel. The family market is particularly important in India as people tend to prefer travelling with their extended family.”
Tourism Ireland research has shown that the key reasons why visitors from New & Developing markets such as India wish to visit the island of Ireland are the friendliness of the people, the beauty of the scenery and the cultural and heritage experiences on offer here. During their visit the group explored Belfast and took in the sights of the Causeway Coastal route, before finishing off at the Giant’s Causeway.
Indian tour operators pictured enjoying the view of the North Antrim Coast with Meenu Bagai, Tourism Ireland India (front right) and Jason Powell, Causeway Coast and Glens (back right).
Elaine Moore / Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
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