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07 Apr 2014

International tour operators explore Ballintoy and more …

Top tour operators from Great Britain, the USA, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark visited Ballintoy and the North Antrim Coast, as part of a fact-finding trip to the Causeway Coast and Northern Ireland recently.  

Flown in by Tourism Ireland to participate in the annual Meet the Buyer workshop, which is taking place in the Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh this week, the tour operators enjoyed a pre-workshop tour which was themed around Northern Ireland’s movie locations. As well as some of the locations from the hugely popular Games of Thrones – including Ballintoy, Ballycastle and the Dark Hedges near Ballymoney, the group also took in the Giant’s Causeway, a sightseeing tour of Belfast, Crom Castle and Castle Coole. 

The visit of the international tour operators was organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. 

Welcoming the strong international attendance at this year’s Meet the Buyer workshop in Enniskillen, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring 90 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2014 – including 27 buyers who are here for the first time – which provides such an important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The high attendance of these buyers from around the world is a strong indication that interest in visiting Northern Ireland remains high and that it can, and is, competing with the best destinations in the world.  

“Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way across the world, to highlight Northern Ireland and grow tourism in 2014 and beyond. We are placing a major focus on the Grande Partenza of next month’s Giro d’Italia – taking every opportunity to leverage the tourism benefits of this prestigious sporting event for Northern Ireland. And our new campaign with HBO and its hit TV series Game of Thrones will showcase Northern Ireland in a completely new way on the global stage. With our spectacular scenery, world-class visitor attractions and good value accommodation, Northern Ireland truly is a ‘must see’ destination. Our message is that there has never been a better time to come and visit Northern Ireland.”

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is responsible for in excess of 4.9% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 40,000 jobs.
  • In 2013, an estimated 1.789 million overseas visitors visited Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £438 million. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, which is rolling out in 11 different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.