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23 Jun 2017

Blooming marvellous! International focus on Northern Ireland gardens

Millions around the world to read all about Northern Ireland’s gardens

Garden enthusiasts around the world will soon be reading all about the gardens of Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland invited top garden and lifestyle journalists to come and explore some of our wonderful gardens this week. 

The journalists – from North America, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Canada, India and New Zealand – are here on a fact-finding visit, researching their articles which will appear in a range of print and online publications with a combined audience of some 300 million readers.

Following an itinerary devised by Tourism NI, the journalists visited the National Trust’s Rowallane Garden in Saintfield, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Seaforde Gardens and Tropical Butterfly House, as well as Castlewellan Forest Park and Peace Maze. They also enjoyed a guided tour of the garden at Mount Stewart, with head gardener Neil Porteus, a visit to Grey Abbey House and Gardens and a tour of the Palm House at the Botanic Gardens in Belfast. 

Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these influential journalists to come and visit – helping us to spread the good news about Northern Ireland and our superb gardens through the media. I am confident that their visit will result in lots of positive publicity for Northern Ireland in a range of publications, encouraging travellers to come and discover the destination for themselves.

“The latest NISRA figures confirm that we welcomed a record 2.1 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland during 2016, an increase of +9% over 2015. Visitor numbers from Mainland Europe grew by +15%, from GB by +7% and from North America by +9%. And, more importantly, overseas visitors delivered more than £543 million for the local economy, up +12%. Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and we have an extensive programme of promotions under way around the world, highlighting Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones connections, the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as other iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.”
  International journalists with Lucia King, Tourism NI (back, right), in the garden at Mount Stewart.

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 2016, we welcomed approximately 2.1 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of about £527 million. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted about 19.37 million visitors in 2016.