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16 Oct 2014

Promotional blitz in the deep south of the USA to boost American tourists

Tourism Ireland and Northern Ireland ‘ambassadors’ embark on promotional blitz of southern American states

A group of Northern Ireland ‘ambassadors’ is travelling to the United States with Tourism Ireland today, on a promotional blitz in the southern states of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Award-winning chef Noel McMeel, musician and composer John Anderson, genealogy specialist Gillian Hunt and noted historian Alister McReynolds, together with Tourism Ireland, will bring positive stories and great news about Northern Ireland to key media and travel contacts over the next week – in the southern US cities of Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville, Belfast’s ‘sister’ city.

The promotional blitz is part of Tourism Ireland’s ongoing programme of activity in the US to target people of Ulster-Scots descent and will include participation once again at this year’s Stone Mountain Highland Games, north-east of Atlanta. The two-day Stone Mountain Games attract more than 80,000 people of Scots-Irish and Scots descent – and is an ideal opportunity to highlight Northern Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination to people with strong ancestral links to the province.

A series of interviews with influential media, sales calls and networking events with top travel contacts, including a reception with the Sister Cities Association in Nashville, are also planned. Noel McMeel, executive chef at the Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, and food expert Judith McLoughlin, originally from Northern Ireland and now based in Atlanta, will showcase the best of Northern Ireland food – with cooking demonstrations on the Tourism Ireland stand at the Stone Mountain Games. Tourism Ireland will also be reminding visitors to the Games that the Lough Erne Resort has just taken the top spot on the “Best Hotels for Winter 2014-2015” list, on the hugely popular Huffington Post website – which has about 65 million readers in the United States.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said:

“Our promotional blitz this week is an ideal platform to showcase all that is great about Northern Ireland in the southern states of the US. We are particularly pleased to have our Northern Ireland ambassadors join us – truly bringing the Northern Ireland story to life and highlighting our wonderful food, music and the many things to do and see on a holiday in the province. Our participation at the Stone Mountain Highland Games will keep Northern Ireland high on the vacation ‘wish-list’ of Americans for 2015 and is an important element of our ongoing marketing activity to showcase Northern Ireland as a compelling holiday destination in the United States.

“Tourism Ireland recognises the potential of the Ulster Scots segment for tourism to Northern Ireland and specifically promotes to this audience, focusing on the strong ancestral links between this part of the US and Northern Ireland.”

Ruth Moran, Tourism Ireland; food expert Judith McLoughlin, originally from Northern Ireland and now based in Atlanta; historian Alister McReynolds; genealogy specialist Gillian Hunt; musician and composer John Anderson; Noel McMeel, executive chef at the Lough Erne Resort; and John Hillyer, Stone Mountain Highland Games, at the Stone Mountain Highland Games.

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, which is available in ten different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.


Previous Press Release

15 Oct 2014

Middle East meets west!