A MAJOR tourism push kicked off on Monday, as over 20 Northern Ireland tourism businesses travelled to London, to join Tourism Ireland at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM).
WTM heralds the beginning of Northern Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the 2019 season.
Over three days, the Northern Ireland companies will engage in thousands of meetings with GB and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2019. Organisers estimate that £3.1 billion’s worth of business was done at last year’s WTM.
With around 182 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM, Tourism Ireland aims to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the global media and travel professionals in attendance.
This year, Tourism Ireland is placing a special focus on Royal Portrush and The 148th Open – with the famous Claret Jug trophy on the stand, on special loan from the R&A.
Tourism Ireland will also highlight our Game of Thrones connection, as well as iconic experiences like the Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast and our unique National Trust properties.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The large representation of Northern Ireland companies at World Travel Market once again this year is extremely welcome –and essential in the highly competitive global marketplace.
“In terms of overseas tourism to Northern Ireland during 2018, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners at home (including hoteliers and visitor attractions), is largely optimistic.
“Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an extensive promotional programme throughout 2018, showcasing Northern Ireland around the world to prospective holidaymakers.
“Our aim is to deliver further success in 2019 and beyond, to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”
Overseas tourism delivers about £566 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain valuable employment in local communities.
World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with around 50,000 travel professionals from around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance at the event at ExCel in London.