Tourism operators from Derry are taking part in a major roadshow series in London, Manchester and Glasgow this month.
Ahead of the events the operators met with Tourism Minister Arlene Foster to wish them well.
The tourism roadshow – which aims to generate excitement about 2012 and raise awareness of Northern Ireland as a fantastic holiday and short break destination – will take in shopping centres in London, Manchester and Glasgow, targeting shoppers and potential holidaymakers in those high-footfall locations.
It kicked off last weekend in the busy Westfield Shopping Centre in London.
It will also target some of the main tour operators and travel agents in and around those cities, encouraging them to include Derry and Northern Ireland in future holiday programmes.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Great Britain, said: “This type of roadshow, where we talk directly to prospective holidaymakers around Britain, as well as to influential tour operators and travel agents, provides us with an excellent opportunity to spread the good news about Northern Ireland as a holiday and short break destination. It is an excellent platform for our tourism partners from Northern Ireland to showcase their product here in Great Britain, helping to grow tourism business in 2012 and beyond.
“We very much welcome the business and networking opportunities of this roadshow to highlight the fantastic programme of major events planned for Northern Ireland under the banner of ni2012.
“With the imminent opening of iconic attractions such as Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, as well as events such as the Peace One Day concert at Ebrington in June, ni2012 provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the new and vibrant Northern Ireland in Great Britain and elsewhere around the globe.”
Meanwhile language schools from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland – including Mairéad Bradley from the North West Academy of English in Londonderry – joined Tourism Ireland recently at AULA Madrid, a promotion targeting providers and specialists in EFL (learning English as a Foreign Language).
AULA is an annual fair, attended by students and their parents, as well as language teachers and decision-makers who put in place arrangements for Spanish students who wish to travel abroad to improve their language skills. The EFL sector is a valuable source of tourism business and Spain is the largest generator of EFL to the island of Ireland.
There has been a steady rise in the number of students travelling to Northern Ireland to study English as a foreign language in recent years and Tourism Ireland considers it to be an area with potential for growth, particularly in 2012.
Barbara Woods, Tourism Ireland Spain, said: “We have been working hard to promote Northern Ireland as an ideal destination for Spanish students wishing to improve their English. We know that Northern Ireland appeals to the influential EFL specialists and students – as a dynamic and modern place with a high standard of education which is known for its rich culture and, of course, for the warm welcome extended to visitors.”