Canadian travel agents explore the Causeway Coast

Pictured enjoying a visit to the Giant's Causeway along with Jonathan Sargeant, Tourism Ireland Canada (seated, centre). Pic by Paul Nash
Pictured enjoying a visit to the Giant's Causeway along with Jonathan Sargeant, Tourism Ireland Canada (seated, centre). Pic by Paul Nash

Twelve top-producing Canadian travel agents have been exploring Northern Ireland and the Causeway Coastal Route, courtesy of Tourism Ireland and Air Canada rouge.

The aim of the visit was to educate and enthuse the travel agents – so they are better equipped to sell holidays to Northern Ireland to their clients when they return home.

Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Canada, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite this group of travel agents to visit Northern Ireland. Working with influential travel professionals is a key element of our annual programme of activity in Canada.

“Visits like this ensure the travel agents get to experience at first-hand the wealth of things to see and do here. Our aim is to really enthuse them about the destination, to ensure they are better equipped to advise their clients, when planning and booking their holidays.

“Canadian holidaymakers traditionally travelled to the island of Ireland between May and September, mainly because of the seasonal nature of direct flights. Now, we have year-round, direct flights from Canada, helping to grow visitor numbers during the shoulder season. Our message is that there has never been a better time to visit Northern Ireland.”

Following an itinerary designed by Tourism NI, the travel agents started their visit in Belfast, where they stopped off at Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic. They then headed along the Causeway Coastal Route to the Gobbins Cliff Walk, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Bushmills Distillery and the Giant’s Causeway. The final day saw the Canadians visit Londonderry, where they enjoyed a walking tour of the city’s historic walls and a tour of the Walled City Brewery.

2014 was another good year for visitors from Canada to Northern Ireland – with visitor numbers increasing by +36% over 2013. And the outlook for 2015 is also positive, with the first six months of 2015 showing growth in visitors from the US and Canada up +11%.