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07 Sep 2016

Top tour operators ‘discover’ Northern Ireland!

30 UK inbound tour operators attend a Discover Northern Ireland workshop

Some 30 top international tour operators are attending a ‘Discover Northern Ireland’ workshop today. Organised by UKinbound (the trade association for UK inbound tour operators), and supported by Tourism Ireland, the workshop is taking place in Galgorm Resort & Spa, near Ballymena.

The visiting tour operators are responsible for putting in place the arrangements for holidaymakers to GB and the island of Ireland from all over the world, so the aim of their visit – organised in conjunction with Tourism NI – is to help grow our share of the huge, worldwide tourism market, with a particular focus on increasing business from new and emerging tourism markets such as China.

At the workshop, local tourism companies will meet, and do business with, the tour operators – to encourage them to extend their Northern Ireland offering, or to include Northern Ireland for the first time, in their programmes. During their time here, the tour operators are also taking part in a familiarisation visit – taking in the Causeway Coastal Route and Belfast.

David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s Deputy Head of Great Britain, said: “We are delighted that these influential tour operators have taken the time to come to Northern Ireland, to meet with our tourism industry partners and to experience for themselves what a great destination this is. The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core markets of GB, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by ‘new’ tourism markets, which we believe will play an increasing role in the future of the travel and tourism industry. It is therefore crucial that influential operators working in these markets get to experience Northern Ireland, and the high standard of our tourism offering, at first-hand.”

  UK inbound tour operators with Breige Coward, Tourism Ireland (front, right); Willie Lougheed and Dawn Hewitt, both Tourism NI (second row, right); and Deirdre Wells, CEO of UKinbound (front, left), at Galgorm Resort & Spa, near Ballymena.

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 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.