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Incoming Tour Operators get down to business in Northern Ireland

Pictured from L to R at the ITOA workshop at Titanic Hotel in Belfast are Ruth Andrews, Chief Executive Incoming Tour Operators Association Ireland, Naomi Waite, Tourism NI Director of Marketing, Sandra Curtin, Hello Ireland and Dervla O’Neill, CIE International

The Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA) of Ireland, in partnership with Tourism NI, is today hosting its first ever business-to-business workshop to be held in Northern Ireland at the Titanic Hotel Belfast.

In 2017 ITOA facilitated 737,000 overseas visitors to the island of Ireland and spent €13 million marketing and selling Ireland in overseas markets.

The Belfast workshop will see over 750 appointments take place in one afternoon between 30 ITOA member companies and nearly 80 companies representing the Northern Ireland tourism industry.

Commenting on the event, Naomi Waite, Tourism NI Director of Marketing said:

“Networking opportunities such as the ITOA workshop offer the Northern Ireland tourism industry a unique opportunity to tap into a global distribution network by dealing directly with those who package and promote tourism products across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to the overseas market.”

“In 2017 we welcomed record visitor numbers of nearly five million people, who contributed an unprecedented £926m in visitor spend. While we are enjoying a lot of success in Northern Ireland, we are ambitious to grow and develop tourism even further, and to do this we must look towards international markets.”

Speaking at the event, Darren Byrne, President of the ITOA said:

“As part of a series of events to mark our 40th anniversary, we were delighted to bring an ITOA workshop to Northern Ireland for the first time thanks to a successful partnership with Tourism NI.“

“These highly successful promotional events provide tourism businesses seeking to increase overseas visitors, leisure or business tourists with the opportunity to meet Ireland’s largest and long-established Tour Operators, Handling Agents and Destination Management Companies at one event, in one afternoon.”

“To see such a high turnout for our first ever Northern Ireland workshop sends out a clear message as to the important contribution of the organisation in facilitating the promotion of tourism in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in overseas markets.”

Following a packed schedule of networking appointments at the Titanic Hotel delegates will enjoy a gala dinner at the Crumlin Road Gaol this evening including a showcase of local food and entertainment.

Tourism NI will host ITOA members on a series of FAM trips tomorrow which will include visits to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Hillsborough Castle, HMS Caroline and Montalto Estate.

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