A group of leading GB-based inbound tour operators visited Northern Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The group included decision-makers from major travel companies involved in the very lucrative MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Events) sector.
The tour operators were here on a fact-finding visit – to help grow Northern Ireland’s share of the huge, worldwide tourism market, with a particular focus on new and emerging tourism markets like Russia and the Middle East. The companies represented on this trip are all members of UKinbound – an association of leading inbound tour operators who put in place the arrangements for business travellers to GB, Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland from all over the world.
Their itinerary included inspections of the conference facilities at Queen’s University, Titanic Belfast, Belfast City Hall and the Waterfront Hall, as well as Belfast hotels like the Europa, Fitzwilliam and Merchant.
Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core markets of Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by new and emerging markets. It is therefore essential that influential tour operators working in these markets get to experience Northern Ireland at first-hand and the high standard of the tourism product here, including our world-class conference and meeting facilities.”