New ad campaign seeks to double North’s tourism income to £2bn

Attractions from Titanic Belfast to the Seamus Heaney HomePlace are set to play leading role in campaign to woo more tourists over the next decade

Northern Ireland's biggest tourist attractions from Titanic Belfast to the Seamus Heaney HomePlace are set to play a leading role in a new campaign that aims to woo greater numbers of visitors to the North and help grow tourism revenue to £2 billion over the next 10 years.

John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, the government body which markets Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland, said it is adopting a "new approach" to promoting Northern Ireland tourism because the body wants to "transform how prospective visitors perceive our destination".

Launching details of the campaign at the annual World Travel Market event in London on Monday, Mr McGrillen said Tourism NI has a "new destination brand" - Northern Ireland Embrace A Giant Spirit - that encapsulates everything the North has to offer visitors.

“Tourism is a fiercely competitive, global industry and it is crucial that Northern Ireland has prominence both on the island of Ireland, and internationally,” Mr McGrillen said.


“It will build on the strengths and successes of the last decade to give authentic experiences provided by businesses large and small that will leave our visitors with unforgettable memories.”

Tourism NI drew on the talent of some of Northern Ireland's best known artists and poets to help develop the destination brand including the critically acclaimed Colin Davidson, the Pulitzer prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey.

According to the agency, tourism in the North has blossomed into a £1 billion industry in the past 10 years while overseas tourism alone has contributed around £560 million to the Northern Ireland economy.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business