Planning your holiday? Visit our consumer website

31 Oct 2014

Northern Ireland ‘open’ for groups

Influential American and Canadian tour operators check out Northern Ireland for tour group visits

Leading group tour operators from the United States and Canada have been visiting Northern Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland. The operators – all senior representatives of companies involved in organising pilgrimages, church tours and general sightseeing tours for large groups around the world – were here to discover more about places to visit and the accommodation on offer in Northern Ireland.

The group’s packed itinerary, designed by NITB, included a visit to The Saint Patrick Centre and Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, as well as a drive along some of the Causeway Coastal Route. The group also had the opportunity to do site inspections of various hotels, including The Merchant in Belfast, Galgorm Hotel and Resort in Ballymena and the Slieve Donard in Newcastle. During their time in Belfast, the tour operators also visited Titanic Belfast and the SS Nomadic.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “We are delighted that so many of these influential tour operators took the time out of their busy schedules to come and visit Northern Ireland. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely worthwhile, helping to ensure Northern Ireland is ‘top of mind’ for the operators when they are putting together itineraries for their clients.”

  North American tour operators at The Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, with Jean McCluskey, Tourism Ireland (right); Mark Mohan, Down District Council (back, left) and Dr Tim Campbell, The Saint Patrick Centre (back, right).

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 1.7 million overseas visitors visited Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £474 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is ireland.com, which is available in ten different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.