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06 Nov 2017

Northern Ireland’s tourism drive for 2018 kicks off at world’s largest travel fair

10 Northern Ireland tourism enterprises set to engage in thousands of meetings, as they negotiate business for 2018

 A major tourism push for 2018 kicks off today, as ten Northern Ireland tourism businesses travel to London, to join Tourism Ireland at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM). WTM heralds the beginning of Northern Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the 2018 season. 

Over the next three days, the Northern Ireland companies will engage in thousands of meetings with GB and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2018. Organisers estimate that almost £3 billion’s worth of business was done at last year’s WTM. 

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The large representation of Northern Ireland companies at World Travel Market once again this year is extremely welcome – and essential in the highly competitive global marketplace. I am pleased to report that we have seen growth in visitor numbers to Northern Ireland from around the world this year, with the latest NISRA figures confirming that we welcomed 973,000 overseas visitors in the first half of 2017, up +4% on H1 in 2016. Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an extensive promotional programme throughout 2017, showcasing Northern Ireland around the world to prospective holidaymakers. 

“The recent inclusion of Belfast and the Causeway Coast as the Number One Region in the world in ‘Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018’ is wonderful news and will surely help to inspire travellers everywhere to put Belfast, the Causeway Coast and Northern Ireland on their holiday wish-list next year. Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to maximise this accolade for Northern Ireland over the coming weeks and months. Our aim is to deliver further success in 2018 and beyond, to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”

With about 182 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM, Tourism Ireland aims to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the global media and travel professionals in attendance. The organisation will highlight what Northern Ireland has to offer potential visitors around the world, including our Game of Thrones connection, as well as iconic experiences like the Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast and our unique National Trust properties.

Overseas tourism delivers about £543 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain valuable employment in local communities.

World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with about 51,500 travel professionals from around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance.
Oonagh Stone, Visit Belfast; Patricia Murtagh, Hastings Hotels; and Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland, at World Travel Market in London.

Notes To Editors


  • Causeway Coastal Route
  • Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism
  • Giant’s Causeway
  • HMS Caroline
  • Seamus Heaney HomePlace
  • The Gobbins 
  • Titanic Belfast
  • Visit Armagh
  • Visit Belfast
  • Visit Derry