For once the energetic whirlwind will be able to kick back and relax as the world comes to her.

When she cuts the ribbon to declare the show officially open for business, Anthea will open the doors of opportunity for hundreds of travel-related businesses, showcasing deals and destinations to an expected audience of 20,000+ potential travellers.

From Friday January 19 – Sunday January 21 the event, now in its twenty-sixth successful year, will transform Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre into a lively celebration of all things travel-related.

The three-day show provides opportunities to discover what’s new, to chat with the industry professionals, gather expert information, check out destinations and compare prices … all under one roof.

Whether you’re there to buy or to browse, it’s also a favourite family outing as audiences prepare to shake off the winter blues and think about blue skies ahead.

Firmly established as one of Northern Ireland’s largest and best-attended annual public exhibitions, the event is a rich global marketplace for deals and destinations, featuring exhibitors from close to home and from all four corners of the world and presenting just about every style of vacation experience, alongside an array of travel-themed entertainment, complimented by competitions, attractions and special show-only offers.

The show’s growing focus on the 50+ age group reflects the growth and buying power of that market sector with plenty of ‘silver saver’ deals on offer to savvy seniors.

The demand for holidays afloat will be reflected in the Oasis Travel Cruise Pavilion where a mini theatre will also feature a full programme of presentations from some of the world’s leading names in cruising while lovers who love to travel will be making a date with the Clubworld Honeymoon & Wedding Destinations Pavilion.

The Motorhomes & Caravans Show will feature the latest models to roll off the production lines, from modest tourers right up to state of the art luxury vehicles, while show-goers will also be able to step into some of the very newest mobile- and park-homes, equipped with every ‘mod con’ and home comfort.

Having face-to-face access to experts who can provide advice on everything from making and financing the right choice to which site to choose, at home or abroad, could prove a real money-saver for those who are preparing to make a major investment in a lifetime of vacations for all the family.

Show Sales Director Maureen Ledwith says, “Variety really is the name of the game with many Northern Ireland show-goers prepared to purchase not just one, but several, travel options in a single year.

“For most the annual family holiday continues to be a highpoint of the year but, increasingly, people are also purchasing a second, possibly shorter, holiday abroad, plus – if the price is right – they are in the market for citybreaks, mini escapes, hotel stays and trips for concerts, sports fixtures, shopping and fun activities.

“We have huge local interest, too, in owning caravans, motorhomes and mobile homes … throw a few family get-togethers into the mix and you will see why so many major companies and destinations are in Belfast this January to answer Northern Ireland’s apparently insatiable demand to travel.

We may be eager to explore the world, but Maureen maintains that we are a hard-headed lot when it comes to extracting full value from our holiday budgets.

She says, “Everyone knows that shopping around can really pay off and at Holiday World travellers can tackle their comparison shopping in a single location and with expert advice immediately available.

“Show-goers love the fact that we bring some of the world’s most desirable destinations right here to Belfast, but they understand that best value doesn’t always mean lowest cost so they are on the lookout not only for keen prices, but also for special show promotions and added value extras.”

Amongst the desirable destinations set to tempt show-goers in 2018 will be family favourites such as Spain, ramping up its presence with a larger and more exciting stand than ever before, and reflecting a dazzling array of holiday choices, and France – this year French Campsites will be there with not just one, but four stands, one of which, Holiday World newcomer Sunelia, has thirty sites across France.

Air Canada will be at the Belfast show for the first time, while America will have a major presence at the show.

While Florida and New York holidays retain their popularity with local audiences, there will be encouragement to explore further with new representations from Alabama, Atlantic City, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Tennessee taking their places alongside the Visit USA Association.

Maureen Ledwith is delighted at the high profile new names heading for Belfast.

She says, “Making a very welcome return to Holiday World, will be Thomas Cook Holidays and we have great new standholders from closer to home too, from Lough Derg Blueway and Sandymount Hotel to the Munster Vales, plus great holiday providers including JMG Travel, Sirene Holidays and Trafalgar Guided Holidays.

“For those with an appetite for far-flung destinations, the choice has never been broader or more exciting with specialist long haul companies here in strength, we are also hosting national tourism organisations for countries as diverse as Cyprus, Malta,Tunisia and Thailand ready to tempt us to look to new horizons.”

There’s a great big beautiful world awaiting itchy-footed holidaymakers, but Maureen is quick to remind us of the delights which are virtually on our own doorsteps. She says, “Home holidays will be at Holiday World 2018 in force and this vibrant sector is certainly a force to be reckoned with! Great value, incredible choice and world-class attractions, North and South, make this island a fantastic destination for world travellers

Belfast Telegraph Holiday World 2018 will be staged at Titanic Exhibition Centre at Queen’s Road in Titanic Quarter, close to Titanic Belfast, and just opposite the Titanic Studios. The show will be open from 1:00pm – 6:00pm on Friday 19 January and from 11:00am – 5:30pm on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 January. Tickets are £5 for adults; £4 for Senior Citizens and £3 for Students. A £10 family ticket admits two adults and up to four children.

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