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Tourism conference explores the Northern Ireland experience

Mar 5

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05 March 2013  RssIcon

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster has encouraged tourism providers in Northern Ireland to create unique experiences that tap into the hearts and minds of curious travellers.

The Minister was speaking today at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s (NITB) Tourism Conference 2013 at Belfast’s La Mon Hotel and Country Club. The conference focused on the theme of 'Building the Northern Ireland Tourism Experience' and featured expert speakers from Canada, England and Northern Ireland.

Opening the conference Arlene Foster said: "The latest NITB research shows that today's visitors want to explore the unique and the unexpected. Visitors do not want to simply 'see' things, they want to be engaged and to immerse themselves in experiences while travelling.

"Our goal as an industry is to ensure Northern Ireland is the place where they can fulfil this desire.

"Those who create compelling experiences that tap into the hearts and minds of curious travellers and those at home who want to further explore their homelands are likely to receive the highest level of return."

During the conference the NITB also presented new research, business tools and direction to enable delegates to develop their businesses and increase tourism profits based on targeted marketing and 'experience' differentiation.

The Minister added: "My vision for 2020 and the NITB's target is to grow tourism into a £1billion industry here over the next seven years.

"Interim targets have been set within the Programme for Government to grow visitor numbers to 4.2 million and tourist revenue to £676million by December 2014. These figures will be achieved by primarily growing the ROI and GB market share."

Keynote speaker at the conference was Paul Nursey, Vice-President of Strategy and Corporate Communications with the Canadian Tourism Commission. He was joined by Nancy Arsenault, one of Canada's thought leaders in tourism and an expert in experiential travel.

Internationally recognised motivational speaker and BBC2 “All Over the Shop” presenter Geoff Burch also addressed the delegates.

The conference was attended by tourism providers and stakeholders from across Northern Ireland.

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