NI tourist board target golfers

To coincide with the Ryder Cup at the K Club in County Kildare, Tourism Minister, Maria Eagle, has launched a new ‘Golf Northern Ireland’ brochure in a bid to entice participants to visit some of Northern Ireland's top golf courses.

The publication, which showcases 96 of Northern Ireland’s courses, will be available to all visitors to the Tourism Ireland stand at the Ryder Cup, bringing the best of Northern Ireland golf to a major international audience.

Speaking during a visit to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board offices in Dublin, the Minister said: “Latest NITB figures show a 26% growth in tourists participating in golf during 2005, and a 73% growth in pure golf holiday makers over the same period. This highlights the strength of our golf product, and its importance in attracting visitors to Northern Ireland.

“Golf tourism is already worth £13 million per annum to the Northern Ireland economy, and we must take every opportunity to make sure that this sector achieves its fullest possible potential in the years to come.”

Maria Eagle was in Dublin and Kildare on a two-day visit to lead Northern Ireland's representation at the Ryder Cup.

She attended a number of official engagements, where she highlighted Northern Ireland's attractiveness as a place to invest and as a holiday and golf destination to lead decision makers in the international travel trade and airline industry who are attending the event as guests of Tourism Ireland.

Outlining the benefits which the Ryder Cup has generated for Northern Ireland tourism, Ms Eagle said: “The staging of this year’s Ryder Cup at the K Club has brought the world’s media and the very best international golf stars to Ireland. It has provided a platform from which the island of Ireland will be promoted as an international tourism destination.

“The Northern Ireland tourism industry has already benefited directly from this world-class event, through increased accommodation and tee time bookings. It is vital that the industry take every possible step to build on this opportunity, and focus on sustaining this growth over the next few years.”

Expressing optimism about the future of the golf tourism industry in Northern Ireland, the Minister said: “We are already seeing increased visitor numbers, and the excellent standard of our golf courses has begun to attract world class events.

“Forthcoming events such as the inaugural Northern Ireland Ladies Open in June 2007, and the Walker Cup in September 2007, underline the excellent potential for golf tourism in the future.”

The new ‘Golf Northern Ireland’ brochure is available through all NITB offices, all Tourism Information Centres in Northern Ireland, and in Tourism Ireland offices across the world, or it can be ordered online from the NITB website, www.discovernorthernIreland.com


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