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24 Mar 2021

Tourism Ireland hosts Northern Ireland Virtual Expo

~ ‘Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit’ brand launched to 1,400+ US and Canadian travel agents ~

Thirty-eight (38) tourism companies from Northern Ireland, as well as 11 tour operators from the US and Canada, will join Tourism Ireland for a virtual expo, all about Northern Ireland, today (24 March). At the event, Tourism Ireland will highlight the ‘Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit’ brand to more than 1,400 travel agents across the United States and Canada.

The event will open with a video message from Tourism Minister Diane Dodds, welcoming the travel agents to the expo and reminding them about the many great reasons for them, and their clients, to choose Northern Ireland, as soon as the time is right.

An opening reception – with content provided by Tourism NI – will showcase the new brand and some of our superb ‘Giant’ experiences.

This will be followed by a series of one-to-one, pre-scheduled video appointments – between the tourism companies from Northern Ireland and the North American travel agents. Travel agents remain an important booking channel for North Americans and the aim is to promote Northern Ireland to these influential travel professionals, who specialise in luxury, outdoor and soft adventure holidays, as well as in small group and multi-generational travel. This will position us well for when the time is right to welcome international visitors once again.

Tourism Ireland’s research shows that people are considering now where they will travel to on their first post-pandemic trip – so keeping Northern Ireland ‘live’ in that consideration set has never been more important, to ensure a successful recovery for our tourism industry.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “Before COVID-19, we had seen a significant growth in tourism in Northern Ireland and for good reason. We have much to offer including our beautiful unspoilt landscapes, with our food being very much rooted in our magnificent natural surroundings and scenery. Above all, our visitors can be assured of the warmest of welcomes and our famous hospitality, as well as the promise of an unforgettable holiday where you can experience the vibrancy of our cities and towns or relax in our accessible, peaceful and scenic countryside, all in one trip. I am proud to support the iconic Embrace A Giant Spirit brand and look forward to welcoming our visitors back to Northern Ireland in 2021 when the time is right and for years to come.”

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to launch the ‘Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit’ brand to around 1,400 travel advisors from across the United States and Canada today. We are grateful to them for taking the time to join us, and our partners from Northern Ireland, for our Virtual Expo, to hear all about Northern Ireland and the many ‘Giant’ experiences on offer for their clients.

“Our message for the US and Canadian travel advisors is that, when the time is right, we will have everything ready to welcome North American visitors back to our shores. We’ll be assuring them that tourism companies in Northern Ireland have been implementing all the required new health and safety measures – but will still be ready to deliver a fantastic vacation experience for their clients.”

Notes To Editors

Participants in Tourism Ireland’s Northern Ireland Virtual Expo

Northern Ireland companies

•    Adams & Butler
•    Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre
•    Boatyard Distillery
•    Crumlin Road Gaol
•    Dalriada Kingdom Tours  
•    DC Tours
•    Dunfin Farm
•    Embrace Tours
•    Erne Water Taxi
•    Far and Wild
•    Finnebrogue Woods School of Bushcraft
•    Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort
•    Glenshane Country Farm
•    Hastings Hotels
•    Hillsborough Castle & Gardens   
•    Lough Erne Resort
•    Lough Neagh Stories
•    Lough Neagh Tours
•    Mid and East Antrim Borough Council – The Gobbins
•    Mid Ulster District Council – OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory
•    Mobile Team Adventure
•    Moloney & Kelly
•    Montalto Estate
•    National Museum Northern Ireland
•    National Trust
•    Roots Revealed
•    Saint Patrick Visitor Centre Experiences
•    Taste & Tour
•    The Belfast Story
•    The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast
•    The Merchant Hotel
•    Titanic Belfast   
•    Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen
•    Visit Armagh
•    Visit Belfast
•    Visit Causeway Coast & Glens
•    Visit Derry
•    Visit Mourne

North American tour operators
•    Cara Group Travel
•    Celtic Tours
•    CIE Tours International
•    Collette
•    Globus  
•    GoWay  
•    Isle Inn Tours
•    Journeys Connect
•    Katie Daly’s Ireland
•    Royal Irish Tours
•    TTC (The Travel Corporation)