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05 Nov 2018

Northern Ireland’s tourism drive for 2019 kicks off at world’s largest travel fair

~ Claret Jug on loan from R&A highlights Royal Portrush and The 148th Open ~

A major tourism push for 2018 kicks off today, as over 20 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 2019 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 2019. Organisers estimate that £3.1 billion’s worth of business was done at last year’s WTM. 

With around 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. This year, Tourism Ireland is placing a special focus on Royal Portrush and The 148th Open – with the famous Claret Jug trophy on the stand, on special loan from The R&A. Tourism Ireland will also highlight our Game of Thrones connection, as well as iconic experiences like the Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast and our unique National Trust properties.

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. In terms of overseas tourism to Northern Ireland during 2018, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners at home (including hoteliers and visitor attractions), is largely optimistic.

“Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an extensive promotional programme throughout 2018, showcasing Northern Ireland around the world to prospective holidaymakers. Our aim is to deliver further success in 2019 and beyond, to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”

Overseas tourism delivers about £566 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 around 50,000 travel professionals from around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance.
  Liz Steele, Causeway Coast & Glens; Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Kerrie McGonigle, Causeway Coast & Glens; and Amy Maguire, Portrush Atlantic Hotel, with the famous Claret Jug trophy at World Travel Market in London.

Notes To Editors

Northern Ireland partners on the Tourism Ireland stand at World Travel Market 2018 include:

  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Belleek Pottery
  • Bullitt Hotel
  • Causeway Coastal Route
  • City Hotel Derry
  • City of Derry Airport
  • City Sightseeing
  • Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism
  • Finn McCool Tours
  • Hastings Hotels
  • HMS Caroline
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
  • Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
  • National Trust – Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Old Flax Mill
  • Portrush Atlantic Hotel
  • Seamus Heaney HomePlace
  • The Causeway Hotel
  • Titanic Belfast
  • Visit Armagh
  • Visit Belfast
  • Visit Derry