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25 Apr 2016

Northern Ireland is the place to meet for influential American group

Eight decision-makers from leading American business tourism companies have been taking part in a five-day fact-finding visit of Northern Ireland – as guests of Tourism Ireland, Tourism NI and Dublin-based destination management company, Irish Horizons.

The group included senior representatives of companies involved in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) industry, who are responsible for organising international conferences, meetings and large-scale events around the world for their clients. They are here to discover more about the world-class facilities and accommodation on offer in Northern Ireland, as well as the great experiences business delegates can enjoy here on the sidelines of their conference or meeting.

The action-packed programme saw the group visit the Causeway Coastal Route, including the Old Bushmills Distillery and the Giant’s Causeway. They also took in Co Down and venues like Hillsborough Castle and Ballywater Estate. They sampled some Glassdrumman Cider, enjoyed a special Game of Thrones experience at Castle Ward and visited the Dufferin Arms in Killyleagh. The final stop was Belfast, where the group took a Black Taxi Tour and visited several attractions, including Belfast City Hall and Titanic Belfast.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “We were delighted to invite these American business tourism buyers to Northern Ireland, especially in this special Year of Food and Drink. They got the chance to experience some of the best hospitality Northern Ireland has to offer. Seeing – and tasting – is believing, so fact-finding visits like this are an invaluable part of our overall promotional programme to build awareness of Northern Ireland, and our world-class business tourism offering, in the United States.”

Business tourism is the most lucrative type of tourism, with visitors travelling here for business purposes spending significantly more than the average tourist. Tourism Ireland’s programme of activity to highlight Northern Ireland as a premier destination for business travellers includes familiarisation visits to Northern Ireland for influential decision-makers working in the MICE sector, networking B2B events, direct marketing, as well as attendance at business tourism promotions such as IMEX (International Meetings and Events Exhibition) America.

  American business tourism buyers with Marie McKown, Tourism Ireland (centre); and Maeve O’Connor, Irish Horizons (right), enjoying the Game of Thrones experience at Castle Ward, Co Down.

Notes To Editors

  • Meet in Ireland is the official MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) brand for the island of Ireland, which comprises three tourism authorities, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern.
  • 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 2015, we welcomed about 1.9 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of about £454 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2015, attracted about 16.6 million visitors.