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27 Mar 2017

International tour operators sample the best of Northern Ireland produce and more

Top international tour operators have been visiting Belfast and Co Down, as part of a fact-finding trip to Northern Ireland. Invited here by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Tourism NI to participate in the annual Meet the Buyer workshop in the Belfast Waterfront, the tour operators enjoyed a pre-workshop tour which was themed around Northern Ireland’s culinary experience and titled ‘Food Glorious Food’. 

The group took part in a food tour of Co Down, which included a tasting of chocolate brownies in Killyleagh, home to Hans Sloane who discovered the cacao bean. They sampled a range of traditional Irish breads, baked by local baker Fred in Killinchy, and enjoyed a glass of craft beer at the Yardsman Brewery in Belfast. They also took part in a cooking demo at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School in Belfast and spent time at St George’s Market. 

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring 150 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2017. 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 continues to highlight the wonderful culinary offering of Northern Ireland and is building on the legacy of our special Year of Food and Drink in 2016. 

Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way across the world, to highlight Northern Ireland and continue to grow tourism in 2017. We continue to raise awareness of Northern Ireland as a destination for some of the best food, drink and hospitality on offer for visitors anywhere. We are also promoting the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as other iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and, of course, our world-class golf. 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.”
  Fiona Dunne, Tourism Ireland (front, centre), with international tour operators, at the Belfast Cookery School.

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.