US travel agents discover highlights of the Causeway Coast

24 May 2012 : US travel agents 'follow' Hillarie McGuinness, Tourism Ireland New York, (second on bridge) across Carrick a-rede rope bridge. Repro fee - photographer Chris Roberts.
24 May 2012 : US travel agents 'follow' Hillarie McGuinness, Tourism Ireland New York, (second on bridge) across Carrick a-rede rope bridge. Repro fee - photographer Chris Roberts.
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Thirty American travel professionals crossed the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, during their fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland this week.

The group – representing high-end travel agencies like Virtuoso, Signature, Ensemble and American Express – travelled to Northern Ireland from major gateways across the US to connect with the United Airlines Newark to Belfast flight. Their trip was co-sponsored by United Airlines.

Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in New York, the group’s itinerary was designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. As well as visiting the various attractions along the Causeway Coast, the group spent time walking the historic walls of Derry and enjoyed a visit to the Ulster American Folk Park. In Fermanagh, the travel agents stayed at Lough Erne Golf Resort, enjoyed a tour of the National Trust’s Castle Coole and took part in a cookery lesson at Belle Isle Cookery School. During their time in Belfast, the travel agents paid a visit to the city’s newest attraction, Titanic Belfast.

Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President North America, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring these travel agents to Northern Ireland. Seeing is believing and we know that it is important for these travel agents to come and to experience for themselves the high standard of our tourism product, so they know what we have to offer and are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans. For some of the agents, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our spectacular scenery, the wealth of cultural and historic attractions, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met.

“2012 is a wonderful year for tourism to Northern Ireland and we have a very extensive programme of promotional activity under way, shining the spotlight on Northern Ireland for potential American holidaymakers. The hugely successful opening of Titanic Belfast has already helped to generate fantastic publicity for Belfast and for Northern Ireland across the US. With other upcoming events like next month’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush, the Peace One Day concert, as well as the completion of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre this summer, we are telling Americans that there has never been a better time to visit Northern Ireland.”