Travel writers from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Belgium and the Middle East spent several action-packed days in Northern Ireland, experiencing what’s on offer here for people looking for an activity holiday. Representing a range of print and online publications around the world, the journalists were here as guests of Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI.
The journalists’ programme included a stop-off at The Gobbins visitor centre, followed by a visit to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. The next day, an early morning boat tour was on the agenda, with a ‘Catch and Sea’ experience organised by Causeway Foodie Tours – with the journalists encouraged to catch their own breakfast and look out for basking sharks and dolphins. This was followed by a stand-up paddle lesson at the West Strand in Portrush.
Travelling on to Limavady, the group learnt to fly a hovercraft with Foylehov, on a grass track with water hazards and tricky hairpin bends. At Jungle NI near Magherafelt, they enjoyed some high-wire activity amongst the trees, Segway off-road riding, as well as zorbing (rolling downhill in a giant PVC ball at speeds of up to 30mph!).
Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets, said: “We were delighted to invite this influential group of journalists to Northern Ireland – helping us to spread the good news about activity holidays here to potential visitors around the world. The journalists were really impressed by the range of things to see and do, our spectacular scenery, as well as by the friendliness of the people they met. I am confident that their visit will result in lots of positive publicity for Northern Ireland.
“NISRA figures for 2016 confirm that we welcomed a record 2.1 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland during 2016, an increase of +9% over 2015. Visitor numbers from Mainland Europe grew by +15%, from GB by +7% and from North America by +9%. Overseas visitors delivered more than £543 million for the local economy, up +12%. Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and we have an extensive programme of promotions under way highlighting Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones connections, the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as other iconic experiences such as Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.”