A group of 19 business tourism buyers from Mainland Europe visited Belfast and Co Down recently, to check out some of what Northern Ireland has to offer their clients. The buyers – from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium – are all decision-makers in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector; they are responsible for putting in the place the programmes and arrangements for international events, conferences and meetings for a variety of client companies.
During their time here, they enjoyed a ‘Titanic Walking Tour’ across Queen’s Island which took in the drawing offices, the slipways and Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House; they also visited the newly-opened Titanic Belfast. In addition, the visitors heard presentations about the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, due to open this summer, and about the Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture programme for 2013. Their visit to Northern Ireland was organised by Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said: “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 incentives, 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 providers of our excellent tourism product. They were extremely impressed by Titanic Belfast and the wealth of other visitor attractions, as well as by the high quality of the food, and by the warm welcome and friendliness of the people they met.
“With the programme of major events, celebrations and commemorations rolling out throughout this year, ni2012 offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change perceptions, to showcase the new and vibrant Northern Ireland in Europe and around the globe and to position it as a ‘must see’ destination both for leisure and business travellers.”
Tourism Ireland is working to grow business tourism to Northern Ireland from key markets around the world. A busy programme of activity this year includes high profile events and promotions highlighting the great facilities and good value rates available for meetings and conferences here. The superb infrastructure now on offer, coupled with the distinctive cultural experience, means Northern Ireland is now an even more viable and attractive destination for the European business tourism market than ever before.