Representatives of the Ulster Historical Foundation, the Ulster-Scots Agency, Dalriada Kingdom Tours, Visit Armagh, Mid and East Antrim and Brack Tours travelled to Georgia in the United States, to join Tourism Ireland for this year’s Stone Mountain Highland Games. Tourism Ireland also invited Stonewall Folk Group, from Co Armagh, to entertain visitors to the Games.
Now in its 45th year, the Stone Mountain Highland Games is an annual event which takes place in Stone Mountain Park, north-east of Atlanta in Georgia. Attracting almost 30,000 visitors of Scots-Irish and Scots descent during the two-day festival, the games are an ideal opportunity for Tourism Ireland to highlight Northern Ireland as a wonderful holiday destination.
In advance of this year’s Games, influential journalists, travel trade and airline contacts from Atlanta were invited to a lunch event by Tourism Ireland – where they met with the various companies from Northern Ireland and heard all about what Northern Ireland has to offer American holidaymakers.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to participate in the Stone Mountain Highland Games once again this year. Our presence at the Games is a key element of our ongoing activity to showcase Northern Ireland as a compelling holiday destination in the United States, helping us to keep Northern Ireland high on the vacation ‘wish-list’ of Americans for 2018. Tourism Ireland recognises the potential of the Ulster Scots segment for tourism to Northern Ireland and specifically promotes to this audience, focusing on the strong ancestral links between this part of the US and Northern Ireland.”
Tourism Ireland has been targeting people of Ulster-Scots descent in the US for a number of years now. Promotions have included extensive publicity campaigns, advertising in newspapers in the southern states of the US, communications with “best prospects” who have Northern Ireland surnames, as well as participation in promotions like the Stone Mountain Highland Games.