US Travel Planners Visit Northern Ireland

Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland have joined together this week to host 20 US senior educational and affinity group travel planners from the Educational Travel Consortium (ETC) in a bid to showcase the destination and drive tourism in Northern Ireland. This collaboration presents opportunities to network and reaffirm the value of overseas tourism to Northern Ireland and the important strategic relationship with the ETC.

Throughout the week, members of the ETC Executive Advisory Council will hold a series of strategically focused sessions to help plan their annual conference in the US later this year, followed by an educational and social programme organised by Tourism NI. As part of the programme, council members will visit a range of new and familiar tourist attractions across Northern Ireland for the first time including Titanic Belfast, Ulster Museum, Queen’s University, Navan Fort, Long Meadow Cider, Game of Thrones Studio Tours, Hillsborough Castle, Bushmills Distillery, Glenarm Castle and the Giant’s Causeway.

Pictured inside Belfast City Hall with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Michael Long (centre) are Naomi Waite, Tourism NI’s Marketing Director (front right), Aoife Walsh, Business Solutions Officer (second from left, row 2), Laura Saeger, Business Tourism & Group Development Executive at Tourism Ireland (Third from left, row 2) alongside the Educational Travel Consortium (ETC) Executive Advisory Council.

The ETC Executive Advisory Council represents global travel professionals and innovative leaders within universities, tour companies, museums and destinations from across the US.

Naomi Waite, Tourism NI’s Marketing Director, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the ETC Executive Advisory Council to Northern Ireland this week. This is a fantastic opportunity for those operating in the tourism industry in Northern Ireland to make council members aware of the products and experiences that are available to visitors here in Northern Ireland and the compelling reasons why they should be included in future programmes.

“While the last two years have been extremely difficult for our sector, our partnerships overseas continue to remain crucial. Air access is crucial to the recovery of tourism in Northern Ireland and by Summer 2022, it is anticipated that 92% of the 2019 seat capacity onto the Island of Ireland will have returned.”

She added: “Tourism NI has worked hard locally with the tourism industry and on international selling platforms to develop and market world-class visitor attractions, accommodation, activities and hospitality that positions Northern Ireland as a must-see destination.”

Siobhan McManamy, Acting Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said:

“Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring 20 influential US travel planners from the Educational Travel Consortium to Northern Ireland for their Executive Advisory Council meeting. This is a great opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to these senior travel planners and, in turn, encourage the Educational Travel Consortium’s 300+ members to programme visits here. As we restart overseas tourism to Northern Ireland, this meeting is a really important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The participation of these senior US travel planners 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.”

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