Tourism Minister Arlene Foster today spearheaded a drive to keep the global tourism spotlight on Northern Ireland.
The Minister travelled to London to join representatives from key tourism sectors at the World Travel Market (WTM), heralding the start of the promotional drive for 2013.
Arlene Foster said: “World Travel Market attracts almost 50,000 representatives of the industry from around the globe and business worth around £1.6 billion was transacted at the event last year. It is only right, therefore, that Northern Ireland’s tourism offering is put front and centre at the event, particularly with Londonderry being the UK City of Culture in 2013.”
Nine tourism enterprises from Northern Ireland – including Culture Company 2013, hotels, visitor attractions, a ferry company and regional tourism organisations – are exhibiting at the Tourism Ireland stand, which provides an invaluable platform for the participating companies to network, negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2013.
The Minister added: “With over 200 countries all vying for business at WTM this week, it is important that we stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the influential global media and travel trade in attendance.
“2012 has been a spectacular year for tourism in Northern Ireland, with much more to come next year. Titanic Belfast, the Irish Open, the inaugural Beckett Festival in Fermanagh and a new visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway are just a few of the remarkable highlights of a year to remember.
“Next year promises to be just as exciting. Londonderry is preparing to become the UK City of Culture and is set to roll out a wonderful programme of events, and Belfast will host the World Police and Fire Games. The next 12 months will provide more opportunities to put Northern Ireland in the global spotlight for all the right reasons, giving tourists from GB and across the world even more reasons to want to come and visit.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The strong representation of our Northern Ireland industry partners on the Tourism Ireland stand at WTM this year is extremely welcome and essential in the highly competitive global marketplace.
“2012 has been a very special year for Northern Ireland, with a wide range of anniversaries, events and developments which have provided an unprecedented opportunity to put Northern Ireland in the spotlight in a completely new way, to capture and hold the focus of world attention for the most positive reasons. Now, we are looking to next year, and in particular the Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations, which will provide fresh and compelling reasons for people in GB and across the world to visit. At the end of this month, we will outline our plans for 2013, when we will build on new levels of awareness arising from ni2012 and will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that Northern Ireland increases its share of the global travel business.”