TWENTY business tourism buyers from France, Germany, Belgium and Spain have been exploring Northern Ireland’s great conference and incentive facilities and unique cultural character.
The group were visiting Northern Ireland on a Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) organised three-day familiarisation trip.
It’s the first time that these buyers, who specialise in organising incentive trips and meetings, have visited Northern Ireland. With extensive international client bases their influence is important to selling Northern Ireland abroad.
It is estimated that business tourism has the potential to deliver £100 million to the Northern Ireland economy.
Naomi Waite, NITB Marketing Director, said: “Business tourism is an important, high yield sector which can deliver significant economic benefits.
“The NITB is working hard to develop and promote Northern Ireland as a premier destination for meetings, conferences and events, and trips such as this play an important role in demonstrating what the region has to offer.
“High profile events and promotions over the past few years have been showcasing the great facilities and good value rates available for meetings and conferences in Northern Ireland.
“The superb infrastructure now on offer here, coupled with our distinctive cultural experience, means that Northern Ireland is an even more viable and attractive destination for the overseas business tourism market than ever before.”
During their stay the buyers visited Titanic Belfast, James Street South Cookery School, The Merchant Hotel and Ballywalter Park Mansion House.
They also took part in a Game of Thrones activity at Castle Ward, a sea safari on Strangford Lough, and saw a falconry display at Culloden Estate & Spa.
The visit ended with a black taxi tour of Belfast and a tour of Belfast City Hall where the buyers met with the Lord Mayor.
Feedback from the buyers was very positive with many saying they would definitely put Northern Ireland on their itineraries.
Jorge Baeza of Spanish company Group Pacifico, commented: “In Northern Ireland I discovered charming people, great scenery, unusual places and so much more.
“It’s a great place to visit and to experience a special form of hospitality.”