Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

The images tourist chiefs hope will put Northern Ireland on the world stage

World beater: some of the pictures from Northern Ireland Tourist Board's 2012 campaign. Above: Belfast Festival at Queen's
World beater: some of the pictures from Northern Ireland Tourist Board's 2012 campaign
Hobbit's abode, Mountains of Mourne. Submitted by Judith McGinness, Geelong, Australia

These are just some of the spectacular images which will be beamed around the world to showcase Northern Ireland to a growing international audience.

In a new advertising offensive, designed to boost tourist numbers and drive the local economy, images of our most beautiful sights and greatest achievements will be posted in countries around the world.

Among the highlights will be the Titanic Belfast building and the Giant’s Causeway.

The images coincide with a year of events to make Northern Ireland stand out as a must-see tourist destination.

Tourism chiefs have devised a new brand campaign and programme of events to entice both local and international visitors to the province.

It’s being called ni2012: Our Time, Our Place, and aims to celebrate our breathtaking natural scenery and the human accomplishments which make Northern Ireland unique.

The highlight of the programme will be the opening of the £97m Titanic Belfast visitor attraction to mark the centenary of the doomed liner’s maiden voyage.

Also included will be the opening of the long-awaited Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, the Peace One Day concert in Derry and the 50th anniversary of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s. But tourism executives say that the year will really start next month when the MTV European Music Awards come to Belfast, and will continue into 2013 when Londonderry becomes the UK’s City of Culture.

Alan Clarke, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, said it was time to grasp a unique moment in history.

“ni2012 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because several things are coming together at the same time,” he said.

“There’s been £300m of investment going into tourism over the last five years, the Titanic Belfast project, the Giant’s Causeway centre and also significant investment in the Ulster Hall and City Hall and major buildings in Derry-Londonderry — and they will all be available next year.”

He said the campaign was focused on creating a positive brand image for Northern Ireland, re-positioning it on a global scale to attract, not only tourism, but also business and investment.

“From a tourism perspective we are trying to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a tourism destination, and also drive visitor numbers and generate economic revenue,” said Mr Clarke.

“But it’s also an opportunity to re-position Northern Ireland as a place to live, a place to work and a place to invest.

“We are using it as a means to change global perceptions of Northern Ireland.”

The new logo for the NI2012: Our Time, Our Place campaign, features brightly coloured ribbons criss-crossing each other, in a celebratory style.

Tourism organisations have already begun to use the branding in their marketing material.

First Minister Peter Robinson has previously spoken of the opportunity 2012 presents to |Northern Ireland.

“I have no doubt this initiative will deliver growth, and go beyond tourism to help change perceptions of Northern Ireland in our own minds, in the minds of families and friends living abroad and in the hearts and minds of all potential visitors.”

Factfile

NI2012: Our Time, Our Place highlights:

The Titanic Belfast Festival will take place in April/May 2012, and will mark the centenary of the ship’s tragic maiden voyage.

In June, Londonderry will play host to the Peace One Day |concert, set to attract global attention.

The Land of Giants event on the Titanic Slipways takes place the same month. It will be the largest outdoor theatre and arts event ever staged in Northern Ireland.

The Giant’s Causeway Visitors Centre will open in September, enhancing the visitor experience of the World Heritage Site.

The Belfast Festival at Queen’s will round off the busy year by celebrating its 50th anniversary with an extended programme.

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