Belfast Telegraph

Big Northern Ireland tourism push targets New York and Boston

Ad drive sets its sights on commuters in both cities

Belfast City Hall.
Belfast City Hall.
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

New Yorkers and Bostonians were greeted with images of Northern Ireland's top attractions on their daily commute this week as part of a Tourism Ireland and Norwegian Air US advertising campaign.

The promotional push saw the tourism authority, which markets Ireland abroad, book a special four-page wraparound in the free Metro newspapers, which mainly target people using public transport in both cities.

The advertorial-style feature highlighted holidays here as well as lower cost airfares with Norwegian Air and is expected to have reached 850,000 people in both cities.

Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route, Game Of Thrones sites, the 2019 Open golf competition in Portrush and castles were included in the illustrated advert.

It also invited commuters in both cities to 'Fly to Northern Ireland for as little as $115 one way'.

The newspaper wrap is one part of a four-week drive in the US to promote flights to Belfast from New York and Boston/Providence and to highlight Northern Ireland in the American market.

Other activities in the campaign include radio ads in both cities and three double-page spreads in the travel section of Metro in New York and Boston. Facebook advertisements will also steer potential visitors to the Belfast section of Tourism Ireland's website.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland's head of North America, said: "Our aim is to highlight Northern Ireland as a great vacation destination, as well as ease of access from Boston and New York with great value fares.

"As an island destination, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated - they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.

"The United States is an extremely important market for tourism to Northern Ireland, and Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2018 to continue to build awareness of Northern Ireland as a premier vacation destination. Our aim is to build on the success of 2017 when we welcomed around 257,000 North American visitors to Northern Ireland."

In April it emerged that Norwegian Air will suspend its transatlantic service from Belfast for the winter months due to lower demand.

This week the airline explained: "We are still confirming our route schedule for summer 2019 and aim to announce our plans in the coming weeks once everything is finalised.

"We are monitoring how our Belfast routes perform this summer. If there's strong passenger demand, as we anticipate, the services will likely return as a seasonal route next summer."

The campaign between Tourism NI and Norwegian is one of many ongoing drives to draw tourism into Ireland.

Last month Tourism Ireland teamed up with Aer Lingus to grow Spanish tourist numbers with a campaign in Barcelona and Madrid.

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