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Five-star golf resort links up with tour operator

A luxury hotel and golf resort in Co Fermanagh has reached a lucrative tie-in with a tour operator.

The deal between Lough Erne Resort and Tauck World Discovery will see around 400 international guests stopping off at the resort between May and September.

The guests will be taking part in nine tours around Fermanagh's lakelands.

More Tauck tourists are expected in future seasons.

Jonathan Stapleton, general manager at Lough Erne Resort, said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Tauck clients to the Fermanagh lakelands.

"Tauck World Discovery is the world's leading escorted travel operator.

"The company has been named the 'Number 1 Tour Operator & Safari Outfitter' three times by the readers of Travel & Leisure magazine, and enjoys the travel industry's highest return-guest rate."

Lough Erne Resort has invested significantly in attracting international guests since it opened three years ago.

Mr Stapleton said the resort hoped to double the amount of overseas guests.

"We envisage that approximately 10% of our visitors this year will come from international markets such as USA, Canada, Germany and Japan, growing to some 20% in 2011.

"The resort's unique setting within the Fermanagh lakelands holds a significant appeal on an international level, as does The Faldo Championship Course, which opened last July, assisted by Lough Erne's continued association with Rory McIlroy, its touring professional."

The resort, which also has a Thai spa, is Northern Ireland's first international AA five star hotel.

As part of its bid to attract international guests, it has upgraded its website and developed a Lough Erne web app for use with internet-based phones such as the iPhone or Blackberry.