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Hospitality Ireland Presents Round-Up Of Tourism NI, Visit Belfast And Tourism Ireland News

By Dave Simpson

Hospitality Ireland presents a round-up of Tourism NI, Visit Belfast and Tourism Ireland news.

ROI Media Event Successful

Tourism NI has said that a recent ROI media event was a huge success.

In a statement published on its website, Tourism NI said, "In mid-November, the Dublin office held a dinner in Dublin’s EPIC Museum, for some of the top ROI travel and features media. Guests also heard from representatives from OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory outside Omagh, Killeavey Castle outside Newry, Bishop's Gate Hotel in Derry~Londonderry, the Harrison Chambers of Distinction in Belfast and Boatyard Gin from Enniskillen.

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"The guests enjoyed some of the food which has helped Northern Ireland take its place on the bucket list of foodies from all around the world and sampled some drinks from the top distilleries.

"In recognition of Belfast becoming a UNESCO City of Music this month, guests were treated to a special performance by one of Northern Ireland's most acclaimed opera singers. Born in Derry~Londonderry, Margaret Keys has performed all over the world, but for this intimate performance she sang songs of her homeland, Danny Boy and the Mountains of Mourne."

LK Communications Reappointed To Visit Belfast Agency Roster

LK Communications has been reappointed to Visit Belfast's agency roster.

Visit Belfast stated, "Visit Belfast has reappointed LK Communications to help support its mission to rebuild the city's tourism economy and recovery plans through to 2024.

"LK Communications, Northern Ireland's leading PR and communications strategists, was first appointed to Visit Belfast in 2011 to help drive growth across leisure, business and cruise tourism sectors and secure its place as a top global city destination.

"As the global tourism industry recovers from the impact of COVID-19, the destination marketing organisation for the Belfast City Region has set out a new direction of travel and a step change in its marketing, sales and visitor servicing operations by putting sustainability, inclusive growth and the citizens of Belfast at the heart of its plans and operations.

"Following years of investment - including hotels, conference facilities and world class attractions - Visit Belfast believes the city region is well placed to recover and has set ambitious targets in its recovery strategy, including a £344 million return to the economy by 2024.

"Visit Belfast Director of Marketing and Communications Anne McMullan said, 'The importance of tourism to the city economy and Belfast to the regional visitor economy cannot be underestimated and I'm delighted that following a competitive procurement process we have reappointed LK Communications to help us deliver on our goals and ambitions for these important recovery years ahead.

"'Together, as partners since 2011, we have seen record visitor numbers and have helped Belfast become the exciting, internationally recognised city break, conference and cruise destination that it is today. As we continue to emerge from a difficult period for the tourism and hospitality industry, I’m delighted to have LK Communications on board as we steer towards a new, more sustainable, inclusive and successful future for this warm, welcoming, ambitious and resilient city.'

"A public-private sector partnership funded and supported by Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Invest NI and strategic and corporate partners Translink, Diageo, Value Cabs and ICC Belfast, Visit Belfast represents more than 500 private sector businesses.

"Welcoming the appointment, LK Communications Managing Director Nikki Larkin said, 'Partnership and collaboration have been key to Visit Belfast's success for more than two decades and we are delighted to have played our part in supporting the city's success. In a changing, increasingly competitive and challenging environment, strategic communications will play a pivotal role in rebuilding confidence and in supporting tourism's recovery at home and abroad.

"'With world class attractions, unrivalled hospitality, history and culture, Belfast is in a strong position for renewed growth and we are delighted to be supporting Visit Belfast again as it delivers fresh growth and new sustainable opportunities for the city, stakeholders and partners.'

"LK Communications was also appointed by Visit Belfast to provide a comprehensive daily media monitoring services as part of a separate tender process.

"A full-service and multi award-winning communications agency, LK Communications delivers creative data and insight-led strategic campaigns that drives brands. Powered by a strong and experienced team, the company is one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful agencies.

"With a strong roster of public and private sector clients, LK Communications is a trusted partner for Lidl Northern Ireland, Lookers Plc, Charles Hurst Group, Galgorm Collection, Aflac NI, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Gas Networks Ireland, Eir, Trinseo and Wirefox among others."

Northern Ireland Welcomes UK Business Events Agencies

Northern Ireland welcomed UK business events agencies this week.

In a statement published on its website, Tourism NI said, "Twelve Chief Executives from leading UK business events agencies have arrived in Belfast this week for the micebook Leaders Retreat, 6th – 8th December.

"Tourism NI secured the opportunity to host the prestigious group and, in partnership with Visit Belfast, developed a programme of activities to showcase what Belfast and Northern Ireland has to offer for the lucrative business events sector. The retreat will bring together top meetings, incentive, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) agents to network, develop, influence and discuss the strategic issues facing their industry.

"The leaders will take part in a series of sessions around the city and will visit some of the hotels and venues that host meetings, conferences and corporate incentive programmes. Highlights of the itinerary include site visits to venues such as Titanic Belfast, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens plus a sneak preview of the recently launched Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios. The group will also experience the Street Art Walking Tour around Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

"Belfast has recently been named as one of the top 20 Sustainable Destinations in the world by the Global Destination Sustainability Index and several sustainable steps have been integrated in the itinerary including plant-based breakfast, no printed items or disposable plastic and locally sourced produce for the menus. Transfers between the various locations will be on board one of Translink's groundbreaking hydrogen powered buses.

"Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI's Business Solutions Manager, commented, 'Tourism NI is delighted to welcome the prestigious micebook Leaders Retreat to Belfast. Business events is a valued part of our tourism portfolio, with conferences in 2019 generating an economic impact of around £28m in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. As agencies increasingly place business in closer to home markets, it is vital that this influential group get to see at first-hand what Northern Ireland can offer.'

"She added, 'Sustainability will be at the fore of this retreat as we have taken several sustainable steps to ensure it is integrated in the itinerary. The average business delegate is worth three times that of the average leisure visitor and as they tend to arrive mid-week and in shoulder season, this business is extremely sought after with many destinations competing to secure conferences and meetings.'

"Rachael McGuickin, Director of Visit Belfast, said, 'With multi-millions of pounds invested in recent years, Belfast is fast gaining a reputation as one of the world's most exciting and emerging business events destinations.

"'Hosting the leaders of some of the UK's top business events agencies enables Visit Belfast and Tourism NI to showcase the wonderful products and experiences available to them so close to home and raise the profile of the region in general.

"'We're thrilled to have been able to develop an itinerary that reflects the creativity and dynamism our partners and we're confident that after being immersed in some of the best and newest experiences available, our clients will leave Northern Ireland inspired and excited to include Belfast and the city region within their programmes.'

"Chetan Shah, CEO and founder of micebook, added. 'We are truly excited about bringing the 'Nineteen' leaders' group to Northern Ireland and we are sure that the destination will surprise and delight our VIP guests. It has been a pleasure curating this high level gathering with local thought leadership around exciting topics impacting our sector and the wider challenges of business. Working with the team at Tourism Northern Ireland and Visit Belfast has been a real pleasure and shows how destination support can really add value to any programme with their access to great people, content, spaces and ideas.”

"For more information on how Tourism NI can support businesses visit: www.tourismni.com/contact-us/covid-19-business-support-helpline/

"Twitter: @NITouristBoard
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/northern-ireland-tourist-board".

Tourism Ireland And Partners Attend International Luxury Travel Market In Cannes

Tourism Ireland and partners are attending International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in Cannes this week.

Tourism Ireland stated, "Twenty-three (23) tourism businesses from Ireland have joined Tourism Ireland in Cannes this week, for the annual International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM).

"ILTM is an invitation-only event for the global luxury travel industry - attracting more than 1,800 influential travel agents and decision-makers who design unique, luxury travel itineraries for their high net-worth international clients, from 80 different countries. Luxury travel editors and journalists from international publications are also in attendance.

"The four-day event - which takes place at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes - involves a programme of bespoke one-to-one appointments and networking sessions and is an excellent opportunity for the tourism businesses from Ireland to meet, and do business with, the influential travel agents and journalists.

"Louise Finnegan, Tourism Ireland's Head of Business Partnership, said, 'Our participation at this year's ILTM in Cannes is an excellent platform to showcase the superb luxury tourism offering around Ireland - from our boutique hotels, castles and luxury resorts, to our rich culture and heritage; and not forgetting our world-class golf and our superb culinary scene.

"'The format of one-to-one appointments provides an excellent opportunity for our partners from Ireland to network and do business with new and established luxury travel buyers from around the world - ensuring Ireland is 'top of mind' for them in 2022 when recommending destinations to their clients.'"

Liam Neeson Narrates New Documentary Film 'Ireland'

Liam Neeson has narrated a new documentary film called Ireland.

Tourism Ireland stated, "An exciting new giant-screen documentary film called Ireland will go on release in select IMAX and giant-screen theatres across the United States in February 2022. Narrated by Liam Neeson, the film has been produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and will be sponsored by Tourism Ireland.

"Ireland will celebrate our rich history, culture, arts and music, as well as our spectacular scenery. It will take audiences across Ireland, following writer Manchán Magan and others on an action-packed journey from Dublin to Belfast and from Kilkenny to Cong. Viewers will see breath-taking footage of places like the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant's Causeway and the Skellig Islands.

"The release of Ireland will play a significant part in the recovery of tourism from the United States next year. MacGillivray Freeman Films is the world's foremost independent producer and distributor of original giant-screen 70mm films and Ireland is expected to be seen by millions of people across the United States - helping to inspire them to put Ireland on their holiday wish-list for next year. A previous film produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films for Brand USA (destination marketing organisation for the United States), called Natural Parks Adventure, was seen by around 8 million people in IMAX and giant-screen theatres.

"To view the trailer for Ireland, [go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQZQWbLqKSc].

"Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said, 'Tourism Ireland is delighted to be announced as the global sponsor of the new giant screen documentary film Ireland, narrated by our own Liam Neeson. With the international release of the film set to take place next February, it comes at an ideal time for us as we restart travel to Ireland. It will play a significant part in the recovery of tourism from the United States. The film will be seen by millions of viewers in IMAX and giant screen theatres, shining a spotlight on our rich history, culture and heritage and our spectacular scenery.'

"Liam Neeson said, 'There is a movement in Ireland to reconnect with our heritage, to rediscover what it means to be Irish, and I am delighted to help bring the joy and diversity of all that Ireland has to offer, both the old and the new, to IMAX and giant-screen audiences worldwide. As viewers experience Ireland's great beauty and humanity on the world’s largest screens, they will fall in love all over again.'

Director Greg MacGillivray said, 'Ireland has long captivated the world’s imagination with its rich history and picturesque landscapes, and with this film we hope to share with audiences all the wonder and cultural diversity that makes Ireland so unique and special. Our story intertwines Ireland's ancient past with its vibrant future, and I hope the film ignites a new appreciation for the vast, natural beauty and fascinating, cultural traditions of this magical place.'"

Tourism NI And Industry Partners Publish New Republic Of Ireland Market Strategy

Tourism NI and industry partners have published a new Republic of Ireland Market Strategy.

Tourism NI stated on its website, "Tourism NI and industry partners have published a new Republic of Ireland Market Strategy to chart a growth plan for Northern Ireland’s closest out of state tourism market, with a revenue target of £193 million, 10% of the value of all trips made by Republic of Ireland residents on the island, by 2026.

"The Market Strategy Taskforce, an independent and industry led group, was chaired by Judith Owens, Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast. The Strategy highlights the increasing importance of the Republic of Ireland market, the positive impact of the new tourism brand Northern Ireland - Embrace a Giant Spirit and the ongoing challenges facing the industry as it emerges from the Covid pandemic.

"The three key themes of the strategy are; Collective Effort, with industry better equipped to market and win business; Compelling Communications that will build knowledge of what Northern Ireland has to offer, and; Ease of Purchase so that short breaks in Northern Ireland can be more readily accessed and booked.

"Republic of Ireland resident overnight trips showed record growth between 2016 and 2019 with a 66% increase in volume and an impressive 103% increase in spend. The tourism industry was set to benefit further following the phenomenal success of The Open at Royal Portrush in 2019.

"An earlier Taskforce established by Tourism NI, which published recommendations in 2016, had identified methods for sustainable growth and brought a deeper understanding of the dynamics and barriers in the RoI market as well as opportunities. This led to increased levels of marketing and communications activity by Tourism NI and its partners and encouraged Northern Ireland tourism businesses to seek out more opportunities across the border.

"Commenting on the Strategy Judith Owens said, 'Our work in recent years provides us with a strengthened base from which to target the RoI visitor. Our industry is a better equipped collective who understand the RoI market and are energised and ready to compete and win in the time ahead. As we emerge from travel restrictions and consumers remain tentative about overseas travel, now is a once in a generation opportunity to introduce all that Northern Ireland has to offer to the RoI consumer.'

"'This strategy charts a plan that will require appropriate decisions, investment and industry collaboration to be implemented. While the Northern Ireland-Embrace a Giant Spirit brand is generating strong recognition in the RoI market and helping to drive overall interest, only the tourism industry itself can create the experiences and memories for every visitor and so is central to the Strategy.

"'To achieve our target of a 10% increase in value share of RoI trips on the island of Ireland by 2026 it will also be crucial that the correct environment, support and enthusiasm is mobilised to enable businesses to succeed, strengthen and prosper.'"

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons commended the work of the Market Strategy Taskforce and commented, "Northern Ireland's tourism offer has been building momentum within the Republic of Ireland market over recent years, underpinned by public and private sector investment in a superb range of attractions, visitor experiences and accommodation and backed up by a modern and effective destination brand which has significantly increased visibility. The newly published Republic of Ireland Market Strategy is an important tool to help build on recent success, plan for the future and drive even greater performance in the years ahead.'

"Naomi Waite, Tourism NI Director of Marketing, added, 'We are excited to launch this important Strategy at a time when we will be looking even more closely to the RoI market to begin our journey back to growth. Having conducted a complete review we have developed a new, comprehensive segmentation of the market which will allow complete packages and connected experiences to be developed.

"'We believe there is a latent readiness with visitors in the Republic to visit and spend and that with the correct ambition, vision, resources, co-operation and momentum our industry will thrive again in the years ahead. This plan gives us the starting point, the direction and the focus to succeed.'

"To view the Republic of Ireland Market Strategy 2021-2026 in full visit: [https://www.tourismni.com/build-your-business/opportunities-campaigns/roi-market/]

"Twitter: @NITouristBoard
"LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/northern-ireland-tourist-board".

© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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