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UK tour operators on fact-finding mission to Northern Ireland

Tour operators from across the UK have checked out Londonderry ahead of its year as UK City of Culture in 2013.

Tourism Ireland invited 41 leading coach and group tour operators to the city to meet up with their local counterparts.

The aim was to encourage the visiting coach operators to feature the first UK City of Culture as well as other parts of Northern Ireland as a new destination in their programmes, or to extend existing ones. Following the workshop, the group took part in a familiarisation trip, staying overnight in Derry.

They walked the City Walls and took a trip across the Peace Bridge to Ebrington Square.

They were also given details of the main 2013 celebrations.

The group took in Titanic Belfast and the Thompson Dry Dock, and drove along the Causeway Coastal Route, with stops at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.

Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted these influential operators have had the opportunity to experience for themselves the high standard and variety of tourism product which Northern Ireland has to offer potential GB |visitors. 2012 has been a fantastic year for Northern Ireland.

“Next year, the Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture programme will give us another wonderful opportunity to showcase the city.

“Tourism Ireland is rolling out its autumn campaign right now in GB, targeting millions of potential holidaymakers for city breaks and rural holidays, highlighting what makes a holiday here unique and truly memorable.”

Belfast Telegraph