Tourism Ireland indicates top international tour operators have been discovering Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and some of the destination’s other top visitor attractions, as part of a fact-finding trip to Northern Ireland. The tour operators were invited here by Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Tourism NI – to participate in the annual Meet the Buyer workshop in ICC Belfast.
Indeed, travel to Ireland has increased dramatically. The number of international passengers arriving in Ireland increased by more than 1,300 percent this year in comparison with February last year. Before the workshop, the tour operators took part in an ‘Iconic NI’ themed tour. The tour operators enjoyed a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and visited Hinch Distillery, Titanic Belfast, and SS Nomadic. They also traveled along the Causeway Coastal Route to visit Glenarm Castle, the Giant’s Causeway, and Glenshane Country Farm.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring 140 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2022. As we restart overseas tourism to Northern Ireland, this event is a really important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The participation 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 has an extensive program of promotions underway for 2022. We are taking every opportunity to leverage the many good news stories about Northern Ireland tourism this year – including the opening of the new Game of Thrones Studio Tour, the recent designation of Belfast as a UNESCO City of Music, the 10th anniversary of Titanic Belfast and the fact that The Open will return to Royal Portrush in 2025. We are also highlighting Northern Ireland’s screen tourism success, including the final series of ‘Derry Girls’ and the new ‘Belfast’ film directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh. Our message is that Northern Ireland is open for business again and we cannot wait to welcome back visitors from around the world.”