A major tourism push for 2018 is under way this week, as ten Northern Ireland tourism businesses – including Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council – are in London, with Tourism Ireland at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM). WTM heralds the beginning of Northern Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the 2018 season.
Over the three days, the Northern Ireland companies will engage in thousands of meetings with GB and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2018. Organisers estimate that almost £3 billion’s worth of business was done at last year’s WTM.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The large representation of Northern Ireland companies at World Travel Market once again this year is extremely welcome – and essential in the highly competitive global marketplace. I am pleased to report that we have seen growth in visitor numbers to Northern Ireland from around the world this year, with the latest NISRA figures confirming that we welcomed 973,000 overseas visitors in the first half of 2017, up +4% on H1 in 2016. Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an extensive promotional programme throughout 2017, showcasing Northern Ireland around the world to prospective holidaymakers.
“The recent inclusion of Belfast and the Causeway Coast as the Number One Region in the world in ‘Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018’ is wonderful news and will surely help to inspire travellers everywhere to put Belfast, the Causeway Coast and Northern Ireland on their holiday wish-list next year. Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to maximise this accolade for Northern Ireland over the coming weeks and months. Our aim is to deliver further success in 2018 and beyond, to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”
With about 182 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM, Tourism Ireland pulled out all the stops to stand out from the crowd this year with the stand winning the ‘best stand feature’ award for a giant-sized model of Finn McCool and some Giant’s Causeway stones.
World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with about 51,500 travel professionals from around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance.