Game of Thrones Tour goes on a trip

Stephen Finlay, Tourism NI; Claire Moles, Game of Thrones Studio Tour, Banbridge and Ciaran Doherty, Tourism Ireland at World Travel Market in London
Stephen Finlay, Tourism NI; Claire Moles, Game of Thrones Studio Tour, Banbridge and Ciaran Doherty, Tourism Ireland at World Travel Market in London

A major tourism push kicked off this week, as over 30 Northern Ireland tourism businesses – including the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, Banbridge – travelled to London, to join Tourism Ireland at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM).

WTM traditionally heralds the beginning of Northern Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the 2020 season.

Over three days, the Northern Ireland companies engaged in thousands of meetings with GB and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2020. Organisers estimate that £2.8 billion’s worth of business was done at last year’s WTM. With around 182 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM, Tourism Ireland aimed to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the global media and travel professionals in attendance.

This year, Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland launched a new destination brand for Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland / Embrace A Giant Spirit – that will be used to promote Northern Ireland across the island of Ireland and internationally. Tourism Ireland’s impressive stand placed a special focus on the new branding – showcasing the new logo designed by internationally-renowned artist, Colin Davidson, along with new imagery and video footage of Northern Ireland.

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 delighted that we have launched a new brand for Northern Ireland which will help us to give Northern Ireland real ‘stand-out’ on the international stage and will deliver a significant boost to the tourism economy over the coming years. In terms of overseas tourism to Northern Ireland during 2019, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners at home (including hoteliers and visitor attractions), is largely optimistic.”

Overseas tourism delivers around £560 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain valuable employment in local communities.