Belfast Telegraph

£15m bid to lure tourists to Northern Ireland for an autumn visit

BY FLORA BRADLEY-WATSON

More than £15m is being spent on a late-season attempt to lure tourists to Northern Ireland.

The promotional blitz aims to boost travel to Northern Ireland from around the world in the remaining months of 2013.

The September to December period usually yields as much as 30% of overseas tourism business.

The campaign showcases the historic castles, vibrant cities, spectacular countryside and beautiful coastline on offer to visitors.

It will also promote the many festivals and events taking place in the province this autumn including Belfast Music Week and the Belfast Festival at Queens.

The promotion also focuses on last few months of Londonderry's UK City of Culture programme, including the staging of the Turner Prize, the annual Halloween carnival and the Conquest of Happiness production.

It is the first time the Turner Prize has been staged outside of England.

The campaign is being rolled out in Britain, United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, Russia, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil and will focus on city breaks as well as attracting visitors to more rural areas.

Social media, television, radio, online and print advertising are all being used in the campaign. Sales missions have been sent as far afield as Canada, China, the US and South Africa.

Journalists from around the world have been invited to visit Northern Ireland and a popular French-Canadian reality TV show is scheduled to film in Belfast this month.

Tourism Ireland has invited more than 45 trade contacts from China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia to meet and do business with 90 tourism operators from Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland.

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said: "Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends in our target markets.

"Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a good opportunity with many world-class festivals and events happening here.

"Tourism Ireland is bringing in over 120 top overseas tour operators this autumn to meet with hundreds of tourism businesses across the island and negotiate inclusion in their 2014 programmes"

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"Despite a busy summer, it is important that we don't lose momentum as we head into autumn. Whatever the season, visitors can be assured of a warm welcome and a choice of activities from culture and creativity to mountain biking and hill walking."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster

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