Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland are hosting a series of virtual showcase events this week which bring to life the Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit brand through an engaging programme of interviews, experience demonstrations and immersive video content aimed at GB and North American travel trade.
The world-leading visitor attraction, Titanic Belfast is playing host to the two virtual events (23rd and 24th March), transporting international tour operators to iconic destinations across Northern Ireland.
Presented by Conor Philips and Holly Hamilton, the events feature familiar faces including interviews with Adrian Dunbar, Derry Girls Tara-Lynne O’Neill, Michelin star Chef Alex Greene, genealogist Natalie Bodle and a musical performance by Ryan McMullen.
The North America showcase will be followed by an expo with 38 Northern Ireland industry and 11 North American tour operators who virtually exhibit their programmes and experiences to over 1,400 travel advisors from the USA and Canadian markets. Over 735 appointments have been scheduled to date.
The events will also feature a series of webinars, entertainment segments and a live panel discussion.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds commented:
“We have a world-class tourism product in Northern Ireland and the industry had its most successful year to date in 2019, surpassing a targeted £1billion economic impact.
“It is vitally important for us to remain connected with our international markets to ensure that when the time is right, and international travel returns, we are ready to promote and sell to clients across the world, so that Northern Ireland continues to be a leading destination for our key overseas markets.
“These virtual events are proof not only that Northern Ireland has the places, product and people to attract visitors and generate revenue in the years ahead but that we have the determination to plan for a strong recovery.”
Tourism NI, Director of Marketing, Naomi Waite said:
“These virtual events will bring to life some of the very best of Northern Ireland. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our range of unique, immersive and authentic brand-aligned experiences, keeping Northern Ireland front of mind and providing the travel trade with compelling reasons to send their clients here.
There will be fierce competition when people start travelling in large numbers again and our partnership with travel trade from GB and right across North America will be an essential part of our sales efforts. While things look different at the moment, one thing for certain is the giant welcome that will be on offer when it is safe to do so.”
Ciaran Doherty, Tourism Ireland’s Northern Ireland Stakeholder Liaison Manager, said:
“Tourism Ireland’s teams in GB and North America are delighted that so many of our tourism industry partners are joining us to highlight Northern Ireland’s ‘Giant’ experiences to the overseas travel trade. Our research shows that people are considering now where they will travel to on their first post-pandemic trip – so it is key that we keep Northern Ireland to the fore of the minds of influential travel agents and tour operators.
“Our message is that, when the time is right, we will have everything ready to welcome overseas visitors back to our shores.”