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25 Sep 2019

North American tour operators explore Ulster Scots connections

Tourism Ireland invited eight leading tour operators from the US and Canada to visit Northern Ireland this week, to learn about the historical links between North America and the Ulster Scots community.
The aim of the action-packed fact-finding visit was to inform and enthuse the influential travel professionals about some of the many great things to do and see on holiday in Northern Ireland – and for them to explore the strong ancestral links between North America and Northern Ireland.

Their itinerary – designed by Tourism NI – included a visit to the Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers Centre in Carrickfergus, as well as a special Ulster Scots-themed food tour.  The tour operators continued to Arthur Cottage in Cullybackey, the Ulysses S Grant Homestead in Ballygawley and the Ulster American Folk Park. They also visited Londonderry, where they enjoyed a walking tour of the walls and visits to the Museum of Free Derry, Siege Museum and the Guildhall.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these leading North American tour operators to come and visit Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland has been targeting people of Ulster-Scots descent in the US and Canada for a number of years and we believe it’s extremely important for influential travel professionals such as these to understand the richness of our shared history – in order to grow their business to Northern Ireland.  We want them to experience for themselves the high standard of our tourism attractions and experiences and the many things to see and do here. Our aim is to really enthuse them about the destination, helping to ensure that Northern Ireland is ‘top of mind’ for them when they’re putting together itineraries for their clients with an interest in the Ulster Scots story and heritage.”
Virginia Goff, Tourism Ireland (left), with a group of leading North American tour operators at the Andrew Jackson Cottage in Carrickfergus.

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 65,000 jobs.
  • In 2018, we welcomed 2.218 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of over £560 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 20+ million visitors in 2018.