14/11/2008

All-Ireland Tourism Showcases In London

Tourism Ministers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland supported local tourism at the industry's largest trade exhibition, in London, this week.

Northern Ireland's Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and her counterpart in the Republic of Ireland, Martin Cullen, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (both pictured here) travelled to London to support local tourism enterprises exhibiting at the World Tavel Market, (WTM), the largest trade event in the global tourism calendar.

This year is the 29th World Travel Market, which will have 200 countries represented and over 50,000 attendees from the international tourism industry.

Tourism Ireland, the agency responsible for marketing Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland overseas, has over 16 members of the tourism industry from Northern Ireland at its networking stand, representing airlines, hotels, B&Bs, tour operators, visitor attractions and car hire companies.

According to WTM organisers, business to the value of £9billion overall, was transacted at the 2008 event held last November.

Visiting the Tourism Ireland stand, Arlene Foster said: "This exhibition is the shop window to the global tourism industry. It presents Northern Ireland's tourism enterprises with an opportunity to promote Northern Ireland as a holiday destination that can deliver a friendly welcome, beautiful scenery and world renowned cultural and heritage experiences.
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"Northern Ireland tourism makes an important contribution to the local economy. In this period of economic turbulence, it is even more important that Tourism Ireland promotes Northern Ireland in overseas markets. Continued promotion of the region, will also help us to achieve our ambitious Programme for Government targets to increase tourist numbers to 2.5million and grow tourism revenue to £520million by 2011," she said.

Speaking at the event, Martin Cullen Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said: "The scale of the World Travel Market has made it very clear to me just how competitive the whole world of tourism has now become. Every country feels they have something unique to offer the potential tourist and we will have to continue to work very hard for every visitor."

He added: "The Irish Government is committed to the development of a quality tourism product allocating €161million in Budget 2009 to the tourism sector. I look forward to launching Tourism Ireland’s new brand marketing campaigns at the end of November in Dublin in good time for their roll-out for the 2009 promotional season."

Meanwhile, Hugh Friel, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, said: "Tourism Ireland is currently putting the final touches to its 2009 global marketing plans which will be launched to the industry later this month.

"2009 is set to be one of the most challenging for many years, as the economies of our major markets struggle to recover and consumer confidence remains downbeat.

"That said, many consumers will take holidays and short breaks and we in Tourism Ireland will be pulling out all the stops to ensure the island of Ireland is top of mind when making their choices," said Mr Friel.

(BMcC)

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