Three tourism companies from Northern Ireland are taking part in Tourism Ireland’s four-day travel trade mission in Mumbai and Delhi, in India, this week – in a bid to grow Northern Ireland’s share of this rapidly-growing tourism market. The Northern Ireland delegation includes representatives of Titanic Belfast, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast and Stena Line.
The trade mission, which kicks off today, involves a series of B2B workshops, presentations, sales calls and networking events with influential travel agents and tour operators from around India – providing an excellent opportunity for the participating companies to showcase their product and do business face-to-face with key Indian decision-makers. The companies will also be interviewed by some of the main travel and lifestyle journalists in both cities.
Although use of the internet for planning and booking holidays is on the increase, travel agents remain extremely important in India; so, the principle objective of the sales mission is to build awareness among the top travel agents and tour operators about the many things to see and do on a holiday or business trip to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland and to encourage them to include the destination in their future travel programmes and brochures.
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: “In the year which sees Londonderry take centre stage as the inaugural UK City of Culture, the arrival of the G8 in Fermanagh, Titanic Belfast marking its first birthday and the World Police and Fire Games, Northern Ireland has so much to offer visitors in 2013.
“We are working closely with our tourism partners to highlight the distinctiveness of a holiday in Northern Ireland, the warmth of our welcome, the great value available and the variety of things to do and see. It is important that we look beyond traditional markets, and our message to potential holidaymakers in Mumbai and Delhi is that there has never been a better time to visit.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core tourism 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 India and the other BRIC countries. Latest estimates by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) suggest that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020 and we believe this market could play a significant part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond.”
With offices in Mumbai and Delhi, Tourism Ireland’s programme of promotions in India involves co-operative activity with influential intermediaries such as airlines and tour operators, to ensure Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland features prominently in their itineraries and travel brochures; familiarisation visits for travel agents and tour operators; as well as working closely with travel and lifestyle journalists, to ensure they write or broadcast extensively about Northern Ireland.