Tourism Ireland invited 41 leading Great Britain coach and group tour operators to Northern Ireland last week, to attend a workshop with tourism providers from around Northern Ireland. The event was organised jointly by Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, to encourage the visiting coach operators to feature Northern Ireland as a new destination in their programmes or to extend the Northern Ireland content of their existing programmes.
Following the workshop, the operators took part in a familiarisation trip around Northern Ireland, taking in a visit to Titanic Belfast and the Thompson Dry Dock, as well as a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route, with a stop at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre. Following an overnight stay in Londonderry, the group walked along the historic city walls, before crossing the iconic Peace Bridge and visiting Ebrington Square which will be the main venue for many of Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture events in 2013.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted these influential coach and group operators have had the opportunity to experience for themselves the high standard and variety of tourism product which Northern Ireland has to offer potential GB visitors. 2012 has been a fantastic year for Northern Ireland, including the launch of Titanic Belfast and the opening of the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, presenting us with a significant opportunity to deliver a new message to people in GB and elsewhere around the world and to position Northern Ireland as a ‘must-see’ destination. Next year, the Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture programme will give us another wonderful opportunity to showcase the city and Northern Ireland, in GB and elsewhere around the world.
“Tourism Ireland is rolling out its autumn campaign right now in GB, targeting millions of potential holidaymakers for city breaks and rural holidays, highlighting what makes a holiday here unique and truly memorable. Our message is that there has never been a better time to visit, with great value and terrific things to see and do – and these coach and group operators have now had the chance to experience this at first-hand.”