A major networking event in Derry~Londonderry has given local tourism stakeholders the chance to do business with some of the Republic of Ireland’s top inbound tour operators.

The two-day workshop focused on the potential for tourism in Derry~Londonderry in 2016 and provided face to face selling opportunities with members of the Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA).

The association represents Ireland’s premier inbound tour operators, who design programs and itineraries for escorted tour groups, individual holidaymakers and business tourists for over 4,000 travel trade partners and customers around the world.

Last year ITOA members spent €8 million on marketing and selling Ireland overseas, delivering 470,000 overseas visitors.

The Tourism NI and Visit Derry-organised event was attended by over 80 delegates and took in a series of familiarisation visits to key attractions in Derry~Londonderry, including a tour of the City Walls, the newly opened Siege Museum and new microbrewery, Walled City Brewery.

Welcoming the delegates, Tourism NI Chairman Terence Brannigan, said: “With the ancient Walls as a centrepiece, this city and its hinterland has many of the ingredients that any tourism destination would envy.

“In 2016 Tourism NI has put the key focus on a Year of Food & Drink, so it is fitting that this workshop is taking place in the city now regarded as a significant food destination on the island, having taken the runner-up spot in the highly prestigious Restaurants Association of Ireland Foodie Towns award for 2015, among other recent foodie accolades.

“I am pleased also that we can showcase the excellent opportunities and unique experiences for ITOA customers all over Northern Ireland as we continue on the exciting tourism journey we’ve been building in recent times.”