A group of top American travel agents enjoyed a three-day fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland last week – prior to attending a one-day workshop of presentations and meetings with tourism providers from across the island of Ireland. The travel agents were carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in New York, in conjunction with American Airlines and Aer Lingus, and their itinerary was designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
The agents – all representatives of top-producing American travel companies like Ensemble, Virtuoso, Signature Vacations and American Express – followed the Causeway Coastal Route to Glenarm Castle and Gardens before heading on to the Giant’s Causeway and the Old Bushmills Distillery. During their time in Northern Ireland they also visited Londonderry, where they enjoyed a walking tour, taking in the impressive Peace Bridge; Newcastle, where they saw the Mountains of Mourne; and the Titanic Quarter in Belfast.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s vice-president of marketing in the United States, said: “We are delighted so many of these influential travel agents took time out of their busy schedules to come and visit Northern Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our wonderful scenery, the wealth of cultural and historic attractions, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, especially this year – as they give us an opportunity to show the visiting travel agents our iconic new attractions, like Titanic Belfast and the visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway. These new attractions, along with the historic anniversaries taking place this year, world-class sporting and cultural events, as well as the warmth of the welcome for which we are renowned – are giving us a year of wonderful opportunities to showcase Northern Ireland in the US and elsewhere around the world.”