VisitBritain has today announced that its flagship annual travel trade event ‘Explore Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland’ is to be held in Belfast, Northern Ireland in May 2020.
The event, VisitBritain’s largest annual travel trade event, is next year being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Belfast from 18 to 20 May. It will see hundreds of international buyers meeting travel industry suppliers from across the UK to do business.
Buyers and journalists from the UK’s largest inbound visitor markets including Australia, France, Germany and the US are expected to attend as well as from Brazil, Canada, China, India and the GCC markets.
UK Tourism Minister Helen Whately said: “The tourism industry is one of our nation’s greatest strengths and its benefits are felt economically and socially in every corner of the UK.
“Belfast is a fantastic city and offers visitors from around the world a huge array of things to do and see. I’m delighted that VisitBritain’s flagship event will be hosted at the ICC Belfast to showcase the city and the UK on a global scale.”
VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “We are delighted to be bringing our flagship travel trade event to Belfast in 2020. From its world-class museums, iconic maritime history and stunning parklands to its thriving arts, music and culinary scene, Belfast is a fantastic destination to highlight the breadth and quality of our tourism offer to international buyers.
“Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and also one of the most globally competitive, which is why ExploreGB and Northern Ireland is such a valuable business tool. It gives travel suppliers and destinations the chance to present their products to top global buyers, forge international business connections and ultimately inspire more visitors to book a trip to the UK, boosting local economies.”
Tourism Northern Ireland Chief Executive John McGrillen said: “Winning this very prestigious bid to host VisitBritain’s premier travel trade event presents a huge opportunity for Northern Ireland and we are very proud that Belfast was selected from a competitive list of cities throughout the UK.
“More than 200 highly influential international buyers from more than 30 countries will experience the best of Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality offering next May and discover first-hand what the destination has to offer their international visitors.”
Next year’s event is set to host international buyers and journalists who will meet and do business with travel industry suppliers from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
As well as two-days of pre-scheduled one-to-one business appointments, buyers and international journalists will also attend seminars, workshops and networking events to boost their knowledge of the UK as a visitor destination. Delegates will also experience tourism products and services first-hand with pre-event educational trips to destinations across the country.
Previous destinations to host the event, held annually since 2014, include Harrogate, NewcastleGateshead, Brighton, Liverpool and Ascot.
Tourism is worth more than £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across the nations and regions.