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16 Jun 2016

C’est magnifique! So say French travel writers about Northern Ireland

Almost 700,000 French to read about our gardens and country house hotels

Top travel writers from France have been visiting Northern Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland. They were here to experience some of our beautiful gardens and to stay in some of the member properties of Ireland’s Blue Book, a prestigious guide to country house hotels around the island of Ireland.

Following an itinerary devised by Tourism NI, the journalists visited Mount Stewart House and Gardens in Newtownards, Rowallane Garden at Saintfield, Antrim Castle Gardens and Benvarden Gardens near Dervock in Co Antrim. During their visit, the group stayed in two Blue Book properties – Newforge House in Magherlin, Co Armagh, and Ardtara House in Upperlands, Co Londonderry.

Elmagh Killeen, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Southern Europe, said: “We were delighted to invite these influential travel writers to come and visit Northern Ireland this week. Exposure in their print and online publications is really important, showcasing our superb gardens and tourism offering to hundreds of thousands of potential French holidaymakers for Northern Ireland.

“France is an important market for tourism to Northern Ireland, delivering almost 57,000 visitors in 2015, +18% on 2014. Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way throughout 2016, to build on that growth. As well as highlighting Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, we are promoting the Causeway Coastal Route, The Gobbins Cliff Path and other iconic experiences such as Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.”

  French journalists in Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, Co Down, with Caoimhe Ní Mhuilleoir, Tourism Ireland (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 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 43,000 jobs.
  • In 2015, we welcomed almost 2 million overseas visitors, +10% on 2014, delivering revenue of almost £484 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.