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									                                                         tourism eye
                                                                          april 2008
                                                                update for the northern ireland
                                                                               tourism industry

in this issue…

   signature project                  tour NI with the                   lough neagh canoe
   update – st patrick                llewelyn-bowens                    trail opens

                                                      what nitb is doing for you…

                                                           suite of activity brochures
                         The Northern Ireland Tourist Board, in association with the Countryside
                         Access and Activities Network (CAAN), has created a suite of activity
                         brochures for visitors to Northern Ireland. The Adventure NI brochure,
                         „all you need to know for an adventure break in NI‟, and the Walk NI
                         brochure, promoting NI‟s best walking routes according to the „Quality
                         Walk Scheme‟, will shortly be followed by a Golf brochure. NITB and
                         CAAN have been getting these brochures to the customer through a
                         network of Tourist Information Centres, outdoor retail shops, Tourism
                         Ireland, direct mailings, exhibitions and shows. Download your copy


signature project update

                                   saint patrick / christian heritage
The locations for signs along the Saint Patrick Trail have been identified and maps
have been approved by Roads Service. Road signs for the trail are now being
manufactured and installation has commenced, marking the route from Armagh
through Newry to Downpatrick and then along the Ards Peninsula to Bangor.

Following a series of Workshops, the Saint Patrick Working Group is developing an
Action Plan for the next three years. A major part of the work initially will be to
agree interpretation for the fifteen sites on the trail to provide a meaningful and
quality experience for visitors.


                                                              what‟s new in the tourism industry…

           tour northern ireland with laurence                                                    181 cruise ships
                               llewelyn-bowen                                                   to visit our shores
                                    BBC Northern Ireland will                                   In 2008 Belfast, Cork,
                                    be launching an exciting                                    Waterford and Dublin will
                                    new six part series this                                    receive a record number

                                 LAURENCE AND JACKIE BOWEN
                                    summer. Laurence and                                        of cruise ships. A total of
                                    his wife Jackie are                                         181 cruise ships will dock
                                    swapping their usual                                        throughout the year,
                                    exotic locations to spend                                   delivering more than
                                    their summer holidays                                       200,000 passengers and
                                    exploring Northern                                          crew. The ships will vary
                                    Ireland. They will visit a                                  in size, some holding
                                    different county each                                       between 200-300
                                    week and viewers can                                        passengers while others
                                    get the chance to offer                                     like the Royal Caribbean
                                    their suggestions on                                        and Princess Cruises will
                                    where they should eat,                                      carry more than 3,000
 stay and visit.                                                 passengers.

                                                                            george best belfast city airport
            low % opt to                                                               celebrates 25 years
            travel green
                                                             George Best Belfast
The TNS Travel and Tourism                                   City Airport (GBBCA)
study surveyed over 6,000                                    celebrates      its    25th
people in France, Germany,                                   anniversary this year.
                                                             The      facility       has
Italy, Spain, North America
                                                             undergone             many
and Great Britain in 2007.                                   changes since 1983
The study reported that one-                                 when the then Belfast
quarter of holidaymakers said                                Harbour             Airport
that they would opt for                                      accommodated a mere
greener travel; however only                                 84,000 passengers. This year‟s projected passenger total is
6% of British travellers are                                 2.7 million. Brian Ambrose, the chief executive of GBBCA,
                                                             has discounted recent press speculation that the east
prepared to pay to protect
                                                             Belfast facility is up for sale. The airport is just about to
the environment and reduce                                   submit a planning application for the extension of its
the holiday travel emissions.                                runway. The proposed £10 million extension will add 600                                     meters to the existing 1,829m runaway, thereby permitting
                                                             increased flights to Europe.


                                       opening of new civic centre in ballymena
A few weeks ago, Northern Ireland‟s newest cultural museum, arts and civic centre opened to the
public. The centre was 10 years in the planning before work began in June 2005. The old town
hall and adjacent barren land was used to create a new and up to date arts venue. The centre
houses a new regional museum as well as concert, arts and conference space.

                                                                heritage island website
                         Heritage Island, a marketing group representing over 100 visitor
                         attractions on the island of Ireland, has recently launched a new
                         website -, from which a FREE
                         discount pass can be downloaded. The pass allows for discounted
                         admission into 130 attractions, theatres, festivals, craft and lifestyle
                         centres throughout the island of Ireland, representing a saving of up to
                         €400. The 22 NI members range from National Trust properties such as
                         Castle Coole and Castle Ward to festivals including the Belfast Festival
                         at Queens and The Bluegrass Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park.

                                                                    plans for regeneration
The Ormeau Embankment is to be transformed in to a multi-million pound business park. The
plans to change this four-acre site into luxury office space will cost £18 million. The offices are
designed for 650 workers and will create 250 jobs for construction workers. The work will begin in
early 2009. The desired outcome for this development is to create jobs for the local community,
for those who intend to start up their own business and for those who can help with the
maintenance of the site and also to bring economic and physical regeneration to the area.

                                   paddle your own canoe
    On Wednesday 30th April 2008 the Lough Neagh Canoe Trail
    will be officially opened at Ballyronan Marina. Canoeists will
    be able to enjoy the numerous bays and inlets which surround
    the lough as well as the vast expanse of open water which is
    Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Britain and Ireland. The new
    canoe trail is the fourth of a five trail project being developed
    by the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN),
                                                                                              LOUGH NEAGH CANOE TRAIL

    Lough Neagh Partnership and the Canoe Association for
    Northern Ireland (CANI). The other trails include the Lough
    Erne Trail which was launched in May 05, the Backwater
    Canoe Trail launched in November 07 and the Lower Bann
    Canoe Trail launched in February this year. The Strangford
    Lough Canoe Trail will open in June 08 thereby completing the
    suite of five trails.

                                                                          holiday for you and the environment

                                 LONGFIELD COTTAGES, COUNTY LONDONDERRY
                                                                          Alan Hunter, owner of Longfield Cottages,
                                                                          recently invested in a lighting and heating system
                                                                          that does not use gas, electricity, central or oil
                                                                          heating. The cottage which is open to the public
                                                                          as holiday accommodation was selected as a pilot
                                                                          site for the Sustainable Tourist Support Scheme.


                                                                                                                     ULSTER PAINTERS EXHIBITION, COUNTY FERMANAGH
                                                                                                                                                                    The city
                                                                                                                                                                    of Lisburn
                                                                                                                                                                    is due to
                                                                                                                                                                    get its
                                                                                                                                                                    very first
                  spectacular display of paintings in fermanagh                                                                                                     hotel, a
  A stunning selection of paintings from the Ulster Museum will be on display in                                                                                    Premier
  an exceptional loan agreement with Fermanagh County Museum at Enniskillen                                                                                         Inn Hotel,
  Castle until the 31st May 2008. The exhibition forms part of the Ulster                                                                                           which will
  Museum‟s major outreach programme which involves more than 200 events                                                                                             open in
  throughout Northern Ireland and coincides with the temporary closure of the
  Museum for major £14.7 million rejuvenation.

                                                                                              receptionist of the year
                                                                              The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation hosted

                                                                              the fifth receptionist of the year award since the
                                                                              award was revived back in 2004. 17 finalists from
                                                                              all over Northern Ireland battled for the title.
                                                                              Tammy Stephenson from Beechlawn Hotel
                                                                              Dunmurry was the worthy winner of the top prize
                                                                              Hotel Receptionist of the Year. Competitors
                                                                              where judged on their communication skills,
                                                                              enthusiasm, personality and customer service.
                                                                              Runner up was Julie Dutkiewicz from the
                                                                              Merchant Hotel in Belfast. She was awarded the
                                                                              title of Most Promising Receptionist.

                                                                                                                                        trend highlights
balmoral show revamp for schools
                                                                                                                                          Irish People spend on
                            The Balmoral Show (14-16
                                                                                                                                          average €4,200 per year on
                            May), which is Northern
                                                                                                                                          travel, and visit at least four

                            Ireland‟s largest agricultural
                            show, is pulling out all the                                                                                  destinations per year
                            stops this year for children.                                                                       
                            The organisers are expecting
                            up to 5,000 children through                                                                                  5 million British people have
                            the doors of the King‟s Hall in
                                                                                                                                          chosen to book their holiday
                            Belfast. The increase in the
                            number of schools attending                                                                                   in January, making this a
                            the Balmoral Show over the                                                                                    very important month for
                            last few years has led to a                                                                                   the tourism industry
                            new emphasis on education                                                                           
                            and entertainment this year.
The new activities for children this year will include the
                                                                                                                                          Consumer spending is
popular simulator fair ground games, new trails with
puzzles and games, strictly yum dancing which promises                                                                                    slowing down, meaning that
to be a popular attraction, a kid‟s safari train and                                                                                      the economic growth in the
kiddies‟ carousel.                                                                                                 UK will fall from 1.8% in
                                                                                                                                          2008 to 1.7% in 2009

belfast‟s festival of fools                                                                                                               Consumer prices are
                                                                                                                                          expected to rise at a rate of
                                                                                                          During 1-5 May, Belfast         32% by the summer
                                                                                                          city centre will be taken       www.cbi-org-uk
                                                                                                          over by some of the
                                                                                                          world‟s     finest   street
                                                                                                          entertainers.                   Online shopping is becoming
                                                              FESTIVAL OF FOOLS, BELFAST, COUNTY ANTRIM

                                                                                                          Celebrations will include       more and more popular in
                                                                                                          circus artistry from USA‟S      the UK. In January the
                                                                                                          Mario Queen, slapstick          equivalent of £74 per person
                                                                                                          comedy from Holland‟s           was spent online
                                                                                                          Nakupelle,         physical
                                                                                                          comedy from Belgium
                                                                                                          and      juggling     from
                                                                                                          Australia. Belfast‟s own        The percentage of British
                                                                                                          Youth Circus will also          people going on holiday
                                                                                                          provide entertainment.          away from home went up
                                                                                                           from 62% to 68% in 2008

what’s on                   May

  7th City of Derry Jazz and
  Big Band Festival
  1-4 May
  com                                               June

  Festival of Fools
  1-5 May
                                      Festival at the
                                      Ulster Folk and
  Belfast City Marathon 2008                                                        July
                                      Transport Museum
  5 May
                                      26-28 Jun
                                                                Lady of the Lake
   th                                                           Festival
  9 Cathedral Quarter Arts
                                                                14 Jul
                                      Mourne                    www.fermanaghlakelan
  1-12 May
                                      Walking Festival
                                      27-29 Jun                 Glenarm Castle
  International North West 200
                                      www.mournewalkin          Highland Games
  10-17 May
                                               14-15 Jul
  Balmoral Show
  14 – 16 May                         Belfast Maritime          Carrickfergus              Festival                  International Ladies
                                      28-29 Jun                 Football Festival
  The Ballyclare May Fair             www.belfastcity.go        14-19 Jul
  16 – 25 May
                                                                Fiddler‟s Green Festival
                                                                20-27 Jul
  10th Blues on the Bay Festival
  22-26 May

Find more events on

                                 tourism update – republic of ireland

                                                                hotel prices in 2007
The Hotel Price Index is a survey of hotel prices and popular destinations around the
world. The most expensive destination in Europe was the UK and in twelfth place was
Ireland. Dublin came in 34th position with an average room price of £78 whereas London‟s
hotel prices were ranked fifth most expensive at £115. Limerick saw the biggest decrease
in prices with a 22% drop since 2006. Galway on the other hand topped the Irish prices with
an average cost of £94 per night, followed by Cork at £85 per night. It appears that Irish
people are willing to spend high amounts (up to £99 on average for a room) when travelling
to their favoured destinations.

                                discover ireland centre opens in galway
  The very first Discover Ireland Gateway centre was opened in Galway last month by
  the Minister of Arts, Sport and Tourism, Seamus Brennan. The opening of the new
  centre will help the development of tourism throughout the country. Visitors will
  enjoy a range of self-service options, including internet access to tourist information.

                                                         carlow‟s tourism success
In a recent Irish Times article, Carlow has been listed as a top ten favourite destination in
Ireland. Tourism contributed over €21 million to the Carlow economy with 60,000 overseas
visitors in 2006.

                                                                    b&bs losing out
  Holidays in Bed & Breakfasts and Guest Houses are in decline in the Republic of
  Ireland, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office. In the last three
  months of 2007, bookings were down by almost 29% compared to 2006. Conversely
  there has been a 14% increase in hotel stays during the same period and rented
  houses and apartments have also increased by 23%. There has also been a noticeable
  increase in the number of visitors to Ireland. The numbers are up by 3% compared to


                                                       tourism update – united kingdom

                    campaign to attract                                    visitbritain strikes up
                      european visitors                                             deal with bmi
 VisitScotland‟s „welcome to our life‟ campaign             A new partnership has been established
 is now in its fifth year. „Welcome to our life‟ is         between VisitBritain and the airline bmi, with
 the key international brand campaign for                   the aim of boosting visitor numbers.
 VisitScotland. This year, the campaign will                VisitBritain has hence „white labeled‟ its
 focus on seasonality and ways to extend the                popular online shop with bmi branding so that
 tourism season. VisitScotland‟s marketers have             bmi customers can pre purchase all they need
 also produced a calendar including different               for their trip to Britain. Items available for
 themes for each month. April is the month to               purchase include transport passes, tickets to
 be adventurous! Followed by Flowering May                  attractions, meals out, accommodation guides
 and Delicious June.                  etc.

                                                             tourism update – worldwide

                                                      world tourism reaches record figures
2007 exceeded expectations in world tourism; arrivals reached 900 million, creating a new
international tourism record. Over the last two decades the world‟s economy has experienced its
longest period of continued growth, which has supported the development of international tourism.

                                                                                  smoking tourism
  Tour operators have started targeting smokers by offering holidays tailored to their smoking needs.
  “Smoking Tourism” is on the rise in response to the increased number of countries joining the
  smoking ban. Austria, Belgium and Switzerland are countries where smokers can still enjoy their
  holiday without having to step outside for „a puff‟. In Germany, one entrepreneur is planning
  “Smokers International Airways”, an airline for those people who just can‟t do without their nicotine
  buzz. One of Japan‟s largest travel agencies is also offering tours in Europe designed for smokers.

                             over 200 new destinations for aer lingus passengers
Aer Lingus has signed a deal with Chicago based United Airlines, which will enable passengers to fly to
over 200 destinations in Europe and the US without having to book flights separately. Aer Lingus and
United Airlines customers will enjoy the convenience of flying to additional destinations without
having to stop for connecting flights. This new deal will certainly help the growing relationship
between Ireland and the USA.

                                                      dates for your calendar…

 Date            Event                  Venue                        Subject

9th            Meet the Buyer        Millennium Forum          A chance for Northern
May            Workshop              Derry                     Ireland tourism providers
                                                               to raise awareness of their
                                                               product around the world

                                             Suitable for pre-registered industry providers

             Contact: Dawn Hewitt          028 9044 1580

28th           Northern Ireland      Culloden Hotel            A celebration of success
May 2008       Tourism Awards        Cultra                    and achievements of
                                                               the tourism industry

                                                            Open to all within the industry

             Contact: Creative Events      028 9023 5001

           For more information visit or contact:

           Lua Parsa                       Pamela Baird
           Tel:   028 9044 1646            Tel: 028 9044 1550
           Fax:   028 9044 1615            Fax: 028 9044 1615
           Email:         Email:

           This document can be made available on request in Braille, audio, large
           print, computer disk or PDF.

           Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the compilation of this
           document. NITB cannot accept responsibility for omissions or errors but
           these will be rectified in future publications when brought to our
           attention. Comments, feedback and recommendations for inclusion in
           future editions should be addressed to


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