We always make an effort to attend the regular Tourism Ireland industry updates on how Northern Ireland is doing with regards to visitor numbers in various markets, and last week was no exception. Held in the impressive Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, Tourism Ireland’s Chief Executive Niall Gibbons, explained to the trade how the improvement is due to the increased offering that we have, and how it was effectively marketed globally during the Giro d’Italia.
The Giro left a fantastic legacy and was the reason for the increase in visitor numbers at the Titanic Belfast Visitor Experience, which saw a 9% increase which was more than doubled at the Giant’s Causeway with a 22% increase.
The Italian market are ‘culturally curious’ and want to experience life like the locals, which is perfect for us friendly folk who love welcoming visitors. They look for the buzz and excitement in discovering new experiences and again what better place than NI! In 2 years Italian visitor numbers have reached 315k, an increase of 36%.
This interest in all things NI was reinforced last week when Bespoke Northern Ireland took part in IMEX 2016 in Frankfurt. During meetings with Business Tourism buyers at this international meetings and events trade show, there was a marked increase in requests from Italian agencies whose clients had specifically asked for Northern Irish based incentive programmes.