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 A ROUND-UP OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY             Edition No 12 July 2006



www.nitb.com


NEW PLANETARIUM IS ‘OUT OF THIS WORLD’

The Armagh Planetarium is set to re-open on Jul 31st after a year-long £3 million revamp which
will ‘blow visitors’ minds’. The attraction now boasts a new digital theatre with cutting edge
technology unique to Ireland, allowing visitors to travel through time and explore the universe.
It also features 4 exhibition rooms, sponsored by the European Space Agency, where visitors
can build rockets and find out about astronomical discoveries and advances in space
exploration. The revamped planetarium is expected to be swamped by visitors.


£3 MILLION AWARDED FOR COMMUNITY ART PROJECT


The government has announced a £3.3 million
investment for Protestant areas in Northern Ireland.
The money will go towards an art scheme to replace
paramilitary murals with more positive images as
part of the Renewing Communities Action Plan,
aimed at building confidence in Protestant working
class areas. New murals which have been painted
include portraits of football legend George Best;
David Healey scoring for Northern Ireland; and the
building of the Titanic.



TOURISM IRELAND OPENS OFFICE IN CHINA

Tourism Ireland has opened its first ever office in China. The office is based in Shanghai and it
is recognition of the growing importance of the Chinese market for Ireland. Last year 5000
Chinese visitors came to the island of Ireland and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO)
predicts that China will have the greatest outbound tourism market in the world by 2020.
Tourism Ireland has already set about identifying China’s best prospects for travel to Ireland.
Market books have also been translated into Chinese and Mandarin and a Chinese website is
up and running. Tourism Ireland believes the new office will provide a base on which to deliver
its target of 50,000 visitors by 2009.


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NORTHERN IRELAND UPDATE

NORTHERN IRELAND BUILDINGS SET TO COMPETE IN HIT BBC SERIES

Three Northern Ireland buildings are set to compete in this year’s BBC Restoration series for
the possibility of securing crucial funding to ensure their future. Cushendun Old Church in
County Antrim, Gracehill Old School near Ballymena and the White House in Newtownabbey,
thought to be the oldest building in greater Belfast, will feature in the series alongside other
buildings around the United Kingdom. 21 buildings throughout the United Kingdom will feature
in the series before 7 finalists from around the country are put forward for the ultimate public
vote. The winning building will be in line to receive the money accumulated throughout the
series.

JET AWAY WITH A HELPING PHA

Going Places, the well-known high street retailer and part of MyTravel group, recently
launched its new travel service, Personal Holiday Advisers (PHAs). Designed to take the hard
work out of finding the perfect holiday, and with a promise to sell any product on the high
street, PHAs will come to your home and help you choose the best break for you. There are
initially just 6 advisers, participating in a short trial period, but if successful, the scheme will be
rolled out nationwide with several hundred PHAs visiting homes and offices around the
country. Going Places says the initiative behind the service is that although an increasing
number of holidaymakers use the internet to research holidays, many people still want the
reassurance that booking holidays face-to-face presents. The new service will be provided
free-of-charge, with PHAs doing a lot more than just trawling the web. It is expected to appeal
to those in high-powered jobs as well as working mums and families, with PHAs selling breaks
across a wide price range.


£1.4 MILLION EXTENSION FOR BELMORE COURT

The Belmore Court Motel at Dublin Road, Enniskillen will add 24 bedrooms and 5 apartments
to its existing facilities in a £1.4 million development. The extension is due to be completed by
Easter 2008.


NEW ROUTES TO GALWAY AND DONCASTER

Flybe has announced 2 new air routes out of George Best Belfast City Airport. Twice daily
services to Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster and a once daily service to Galway will begin on
29th October. The Galway service will provide the first air link from Belfast, offering a 40 minute
flight against a 5 hour drive.




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COMPETITOR UPDATE
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND


SAFEST DESTINATION FOR TOURISTS

Ireland is the safest destination for British holidaymakers, according to a recent survey. The
survey, compiled by Norwich Union Travel Insurance, revealed that the safest place to holiday
was Ireland, followed by Belgium, Holland, Germany and France. On the opposite end of the
spectrum, the same survey revealed that tourists in Thailand were the most likely to suffer food
poisoning, theft, traffic accidents and lost belongings, making Thailand the most hazardous
destination for British holidaymakers. Travellers to South Africa were most likely to suffer
violent robberies or lose their belongings in transit, while the Czech Republic had the highest
number of claims from holidaymakers who had been pickpocketed. Tourists were most likely to
be in a snowboarding or skiing accident in Austria, while the Caribbean was the worst
destination for insect bites and stings. The survey was based on more than 60,000 claims
made to Norwich Union in 2005.

IRELAND ‘SECOND RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD’

A decade of house price inflation has contributed to the Republic of Ireland ranking second in
the richest nations of the world, according to a new report by the Bank of Ireland. The report
puts Ireland behind Japan but ahead of the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France
and Germany, with Ireland’s houses and financial assets such as pensions, shares and other
investments being valued at almost €800 billion. Property accounts for 75% of this amount,
which is higher than anywhere else. Ireland has had the biggest property boom in the world. In
the last decade, its wealth has grown by 350% and it is now home to 30,000 millionaires.

THE RAIL DEAL

The Irish rail service is to be transformed from the oldest to the newest in Western Europe with
the launch of a new intercity rail fleet to run between Cork and Dublin. From December
onwards, 67 state-of-the-art trains will provide hourly services, allowing 160,000 passengers to
use the service each day and increasing capacity by 80%. 217 new trains in all will come on
stream across all routes within the next two years at a cost of €440 million.


GREAT BRITAIN

FIRST CHOICE FOR THE LONG-HAUL

First Choice, Europe’s third biggest travel firm, is set to merge with a Swiss-based company
focusing on long-haul destinations and specialist holidays. The company is said to have held
talks with Kuoni about creating a global rival to market leaders Tui and Thomas Cook. Kuoni
employs 7,500 people worldwide and has extensive operations in the United Kingdom as the
market leader in holidays to Asian destinations, while First Choice’s brands include Unijet,
Sovereign, Falcon and JWT. Rising fuel costs and a fall in demand for package holidays of
late, has led to First Choice cutting capacity and switching its focus to long-haul destinations
and a merger would fit with this recent strategy. Both sides have declined to comment on the
speculation and added that while the preliminary talks had been suspended they had not been
terminated.



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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

FLASHPACKERS

According to a recent survey, there’s a new backpacker exploring the globe - the flashpacker.
A survey by the Hostelworld.com website revealed that 86% of visitors to the site take a digital
camera when travelling, 83% a mobile phone, 54% an MP3 player and 21% a laptop. These
new backpackers are becoming referred to as ‘flashpackers’, and the term is being used more
and more to refer to both backpackers carrying high-tech gear and also to the upscaling of
hostels to accommodate them. The phrase ‘flashpacking’ remains a novelty in the United
Kingdom, but the phenomenon is widespread, with flashpackers coming in 2 distinct groups;
the young student with all the latest gadgets but not much money, and people in their late 20s
or 30s, with more money to spend, who like to carry ipods and digital cameras.

HILTON HEIRESS TO LAUNCH HER OWN HOTEL CHAIN

Heiress to the Hilton fortune, Nicky Hilton, is to launch her own hotel chain. ‘Nicky O’ will kick
off with the opening of a luxury hotel on Miami’s highly desirable Ocean Boulevard in
November this year. The hotel, featuring a $5,000 a night penthouse, will boast 94 rooms,
entertainment news screens in the elevators and a ‘signature scent’. The hotel lobby will be
equally lavish with lots of marble and a giant chandelier in the centre. A second hotel in the
chain will open in Chicago shortly afterwards.



For more information visit www.nitb.com or contact:

Agnes Carville                     Pamela Baird
Tel: 028 9044 1645                 Tel: 028 9044 1550
Fax: 028 9044 1615                 Fax: 028 9044 1615
Email a.carville@nitb.com          Email p.baird@nitb.com




                                               European Union
                                               Structural Funds




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