Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today highlighted how an additional £2.85m in funding will strengthen, promote and market Northern Ireland as a key tourism and business destination.
The funding package, which will be delivered by Tourism NI, is aimed at helping the sector boost its marketing and sales activities during the autumn and winter seasons. A focus of it will be to enhance the gateway presence at our local airports and support key travel tour operators. It will also provide additional marketing and business events branding and is designed to improve the customer experience and to grow Northern Ireland’s global brand as a key destination for corporate and international tour operators.
Following a visit to Belfast International Airport, who recently received funding to revamp its domestic arrivals corridor, Minister Lyons said:
“This £2.85m funding will further support the sector to market Northern Ireland as a key global destination for tourism and business travellers. The most recent tourism industry statistics available point to a positive return to growth and endorse my commitment to secure the tourism industry back to pre-pandemic heights.
“This funding will further enable tourism businesses and attractions to tap into the North American tour operator market, generate sales and advertising campaigns to both local and global markets and to also promote Northern Ireland internationally as a key destination for business and corporate events.”
Turning to how Belfast International Airport has been supported, the Minister continued
“The wide-ranging package of funding has allowed businesses such as Belfast International Airport (BIA) to pivot and respond to industry challenges and changes. BIA is experiencing increased air passenger numbers as a result of investment into its marketing activity and developing its customer experience. Over 500,000 more passengers travelled through the airport in August (2022) compared to the same time last year.
“This additional funding also builds upon a £75,000 package BIA gained in 2021 through my Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan. This funding improved the air passenger experience throughout the airport and embedded ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ branding within international and domestic arrivals areas.”
Explaining the importance of additional marketing support to the sector, Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen, said:
“The investment that Tourism NI is continuing to make to boost recovery efforts in the domestic and Republic of Ireland markets is bearing fruit and it is crucial that we continue to have a high profile presence to support our tourism and hospitality sector. Our summer campaign in the domestic market resulted in 165,000 directly attributable visits which included short break, holiday and day-trips which were worth £16.76 million to the local economy. A recent survey showed that our summer advertising campaign in the Republic of Ireland generated £45.28 million for the local economy and a significant return on investment for every pound spent.”
In closing Minister Lyons said:
“I want a tourism industry that can meet the challenges of being more sustainable, inclusive and innovative into the future. Tourism has a central role to play in my department’s 10x Economic vision of developing Northern Ireland as one of the small elite economies in the world and I am committed to delivering on that vision."
Notes to editors:
1. Photo caption: Economy Minister Gordon Lyons is pictured with Belfast International Airport Managing Director Graham Keddie, and Ainsley McWilliams, Tourism NI, at the recently revamped domestic arrivals corridor at Belfast International Airport.
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