Derry-Londonderry tourism businesses were among over 100 tourism providers from Northern Ireland who have had the opportunity to do business with more than 150 international tour operators at the annual Meet the Buyer workshop organised by Tourism NI.
The event, which is one of the highlights of the annual tourism calendar, gives local providers a unique opening to showcase their products to a select, focused audience and strike lucrative business deals on a wide range of tour and travel packages.
Local tourism businesses including Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Ardtara House, Bishops Gate, Siege Museum, Visit Derry, Roe Park Resort, Garvan O’Doherty Arms, City Hotel Derry and City Sightseeing were among those who engaged in face-to-face meetings and networking opportunities with the international buyers during their stay in Northern Ireland. In total 2,600 appointments were facilitated.
Speaking at the main workshop at Belfast Waterfront, Tourism NI Director of Marketing Naomi Waite, highlighted the significance of the event.
“This Meet the Buyer event is a hugely valuable opportunity for local tourism businesses to forge stronger commercial relations with the international travel trade.
“The workshop is a crucially important business occasion, one that offers new opportunities to make further positive contributions to local tourism businesses, our industry and the wider economy.
“Over the last few days the international travel trade have been able to experience first-hand the reasons why Northern Ireland is now regarded as a vibrant and compelling destination though a series of familiarisation trips.
“Tourism NI is proud of the recent achievements of our destination. We are a fast-developing success story, well on our way to becoming a £1 billion-pound export industry by 2025.”
Welcoming the strong international attendance at this year’s Meet the Buyer workshop, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring 150 top international tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2017 which provides such an important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The high attendance of these buyers from around the world 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.
“Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way across the world, to highlight Northern Ireland and continue to grow tourism in 2017. We are promoting the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as other iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and, of course, our world-class golf. With our spectacular scenery, world-class visitor attractions and good value accommodation, Northern Ireland truly is a ‘must see’ destination. Our message to all the tourism buyers, is that there has never been a better time to come and visit Northern Ireland.”
During their visit, the buyers were briefed about Northern Ireland’s top tourism products and attractions including Titanic Belfast, the famous Giant’s Causeway, the Walled City, the Fermanagh Lakelands and the Mournes as well as outstanding golf opportunities, and a screen tourism offering linked to the world’s most popular television show Game of Thrones.
The event concluded with a networking dinner showcasing Titanic Belfast, which was voted the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards last December.