NI is incentive ready for North American buyers

Tourism NI and a delegation from the meetings and incentives market which targets business related travel are heading for New York this week for a programme of promotional activities with leading North American tourism buyers.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 6:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 7:01 pm
Paula Stephens, The Merchant Hotel, Leigh Heggarty, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Caitriona Lavery, Hastings Hotel Group, Johnathan Campbell, Titanic Belfast, Joanne Taylor, Tourism NI, and Maeve Maguire, Bespoke NI, prepared for their trip to New York

The highlight of the trip will be Successful Meetings University, a three-day event in the city from Sunday to Tuesday, March 24-26, when the delegation will have the opportunity to network with 110 buyers representing an economic value of £104 million of international travel programmes annually.

Northern Ireland is fast becoming a destination of choice for the meetings and incentives market. In 2018 Belfast won Best Event Destination and the ICC Belfast won Best Venue 2018 at the Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) Awards.

This was followed by the announcement that the city would host the prestigious 2019 C&IT Agency Forum.

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The meetings and incentives market is a key priority for the future growth of tourism in Northern Ireland, representing a spend per visitor almost three times that of the average leisure visitor.

Tourism NI will also host an exclusive Northern Ireland trade evening at The Dead Rabbit in New York, one of the “World’s Best Bars”, in partnership with Hosts Global Alliance, who last year took their global travel event to Belfast.

“This is the first time that Northern Ireland will be at the SMU International,” said Joanne Taylor of Tourism NI.

“With up to 75 pre-scheduled one-on-one business appointments planned, along with three days of additional sales calls prior to that, we are excited about the potential business this volume of networking with such an influential group of buyers can bring.”

Caitriona Lavery, group sales manager at Hastings Hotel Group said: “The rise of the incentives market in Northern Ireland has been a major boost to bookings at Hastings Hotels. With the arrival of these higher spending guests at traditionally quieter times of the year, it has helped us to sustain existing jobs as well as create new roles, whilst also having a wider impact on the local economy and tourism in the area around our hotels.”