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28 Apr 2015

International tour operators discover the Dark Hedges and more …

Top international tour operators have been visiting some of the locations used in filming the hit TV series Game of Thrones, as part of a fact finding trip to Northern Ireland.

Invited here by Tourism Ireland to participate in the annual Meet the Buyer workshop, which took place in the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, the tour operators enjoyed a post-workshop tour which was themed around Game of Thrones locations and the Causeway Coastal Route. The group began their trip in County Down, where they visited Castle Ward, Strangford Lough, Inch Abbey and Tollymore Forest Park. The following day, they made their way along the Causeway Coastal Route, taking in Cushendun, Ballycastle, Larrybane, Ballintoy, the Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges.

The visit of the international tour operators was organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland. Welcoming the strong international attendance at this year’s Meet the Buyer workshop in Newcastle, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring 100 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2015 – including 29 buyers who were here for the first time – which provided 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 2015 and beyond. We are placing a major focus on the 2015 Irish Open, which will be played in Newcastle next month – taking every opportunity to leverage the tourism benefits of this prestigious sporting event for Northern Ireland. We are also highlighting new visitor experiences for 2015, including the refurbished Mount Stewart House and Gardens and the Gobbins Cliff Path. 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.”

  International tour operators at the Dark Hedges, with some of the staff from nearby Sheans Horse Farm dressed as Game of Thrones characters.

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 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 43,000 jobs.
  • In 2014, Tourism Ireland estimates that almost 1.8 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £508 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.

Previous Press Release

27 Apr 2015

Creating business links with Germany