International Travel Buyers Visit NI For Industry Event

A delegation of over 180 buyers from across 22 markets were in Northern Ireland last week for an industry buyer event.

The Tourism NI showcase was the biggest to date, with 153 local firms taking part. Operators from markets in the rest of the UK, the Republic of Ireland and as far away as China and New Zealand gathered at the newly refurbished Hilsborough Castle on Thursday 04 April for the two-day event.

The agenda was packed full of one-to-one appointments and network opportunities, showcasing Northern Ireland as a popular tourist attraction.

Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen said this year's Meet the Buyer experience was a record breaking event. He said: "Feedback from our tourism industry continues to highlight the high quality of buyers and excellent opportunities that Meet the Buyer represents, with many seeing an increase in business as a direct result of appointments during the event.

"Northern Ireland continues to be recognised as a compelling destination. We were recently voted Best Food Destination and soon will welcome The 148th Open to Royal Portrush. We also welcome today's important confirmation of the first tourism legacy project - the Game of Thrones Studio Experience at Linen Mills Studios in Banbridge - which will open its doors next spring and will further boost our offering to international visitors."
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Welcoming the strong international attendance at this year's workshop, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: "Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring a record number of top overseas tourism buyers to Northern Ireland for Meet the Buyer 2019 – including 39 buyers who are here for the first time – 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 this year. We are taking every opportunity to leverage the exciting events happening over the coming months – including The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. And, later this month, we will unveil our new campaign around the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones. Our message to the visiting tourism buyers is that there has never been a better time to visit Northern Ireland."

During their visit, participating buyers will be briefed on the latest visitor attractions and experiences available in Northern Ireland and will be offered the opportunity to participate in one of six familiarisation trips over the weekend hosted by Tourism NI which will showcase iconic visitor experiences across the region including Game of Thrones territory, the Causeway Coastal Route and the Fermanagh Lakelands.

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