Tourism NI’s Meet the Buyer event goes virtual
From left, Paula Stephens, Merchant Hotel and Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI.
Meet the Buyer, Tourism NI’s biggest travel trade platform, has been held as a virtual event from July 28 to 31. The flagship business-to-business networking event, due to take place in March at the ICC Belfast, ran on a virtual platform with over 100 tour operators from 17 markets participating and 141 Northern Ireland industry representatives taking part.
Organised by Tourism NI in partnership with Tourism Ireland, the annual event is one of the highlights of the tourism calendar and saw local tourism businesses and buyers from overseas markets engage in one-to-one pre-scheduled video appointments.
The workshop provided a sales platform for businesses operating in the tourism industry to meet virtually with qualified international buyers who are in a position to do business with them and secure future bookings. The event allowed the local industry to create valuable business connections and showcase what’s available in Northern Ireland for future programme or itineraries.
“Events such as Meet the Buyer are an intrinsic part of our sales efforts and are crucial to the tourism industry,” said Eimear Callaghan, business solutions manager, Tourism NI. “Feedback from our tourism industry continues to highlight the quality of buyers and excellent opportunities that Meet the Buyer represents, with many seeing an increase in business as a direct result of appointments. Our attendance this year nearly matches last year’s live event which demonstrates the great desire for international business here in NI.
“Northern Ireland continues to be recognised as a compelling destination from world-class visitor attractions to top class accommodation, an award-winning food and drink offering, excellent golf course and much more. As the global tourism industry resets, this can allow us to re-shape ourselves in a way that allows us to recover and rebuild our tourism industry so we can welcome our international visitors again.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that over 100 top international tourism buyers from 17 different markets are joining the first ever virtual Meet the Buyer event – which provides such an important opportunity for our local tourism partners. The participation of these buyers from around the world is a strong indication that interest in visiting Northern Ireland remains high.
“We know that events like the virtual Meet the Buyer are crucial for networking and maintaining important B2B relationships, as well as for securing a greater share of the international buyers’ future travel business for Northern Ireland.
“Tourism Ireland has continued to highlight Northern Ireland around the world over the past few months – sharing inspirational content about Northern Ireland on our social and digital platforms and reminding people everywhere about our spectacular scenery, rich heritage and warm welcome.”