Tourism chief says Giant's Causeway remains one of most searched for attractions globally
The new head of Tourism Ireland’s north south body Alice Mansergh said research indicates that the Giant’s Causeway remains one of the most searched for attractions globally for Ireland, while Ireland has been named best island destination by Wanderlust Magazine, Co Donegal made Lonely Planet’s top five global places to visit and Belfast was mentioned on National Geographic travellers’ Cool List.
Tourism Ireland's 2024 marketing plan aims to roll out an extensive and targeted programme of activity with a marketing budget of £61million.
Addressing hundreds of tourism industry leaders from around Northern Ireland at the official launch in Belfast on Thursday, Alice Mansergh explained: “2023 was the first full year of trading for tourism since the pandemic. Tourism Ireland was active throughout the year, with an extensive and targeted programme of activity marketing Northern Ireland around the world.
“In 2024, our aim is to increase the value of overseas tourism to Northern Ireland, sustainably supporting economies, communities and the environment. We will do so by inspiring overseas visitors and strengthening strategic partnerships. Our message is that Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland have so much to offer across regions and seasons. We will be showcasing iconic reasons to travel here, expanding people’s bucket lists from best-known spots to our hidden gems. It’s an exciting year ahead, particularly with Belfast 2024 providing Tourism Ireland with another great hook to promote Northern Ireland."
Ms Mansergh said this effort will also focus on capitalising on the interest in Halloween, and praising Londonderry’s annual festival which is the biggest of its kind in Europe.
“In autumn, Halloween can act as a pivotal moment here. Not everybody knows that it originated here on our shores over 2,000 years ago in Celtic culture.
“With our partners in Tourism Northern Ireland and Visit Derry, Derry Halloween is already the biggest festival of its kind across Europe, now imagine that we all come together and that anywhere a visitor would go across Northern Ireland in the autumn months they get a sense of that authentic heritage and history behind one of the world’s favourite seasonal moments, Halloween, which started here.”