Slieve Gullion is proving to be a must see visitor experience for people right across Ireland. Over the past five years, investment of almost £2 million in facilities has contributed in part to the award of a four star rating for visitor attraction from Tourism Northern Ireland.
If that wasn’t enough acknowledgment, both Slieve Gullion and Kilbroney Forest Parks have also been awarded the prestigious Green Flag to recognise that they are welcoming, safe and well maintained parks and green spaces which pay particular attention to the biodiversity, landscape and heritage of the area.
Foremost Tourist Attractions
Speaking at the opening of the new Amenity Building at Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “The Council is pleased to be opening these new visitor facilities at Slieve Gullion. Slieve Gullion is one of our foremost tourist attractions which is drawing visitors nationally and internationally.
“As we strive to become the premier outdoor destination in Northern Ireland, it is important we invest in facilities which have the potential to help achieve this aim. We have taken advice from both Tourism NI and our visitors to identify what is important to our visitors. The new Amenity Building will help to raise the visitor experience at Slieve Gullion, while retaining the Green Flag award again in 2018 is testament to the excellent work of staff who ensure that all guests enjoy a safe and welcoming visit.”
Councillor Murnin concluded, “We believe that Slieve Gullion has the potential to be one of the very few five star visitor attractions in Northern Ireland and we have been doing everything possible to make this a reality.”
Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent Crowned at 2021 Balmoral Show
The Most Appropriately Dressed competition returned this year to the Balmoral Show and once again it proved to be a hit with visitors, with a record number of entries.
Taking place on Saturday 25th September, Cool FM’s Melissa Riddell had the difficult task of judging the Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent. A range of fabulous prizes were on offer, with the overall winners of each category receiving a stylish country outfit provided by title competition sponsor Dubarry of Ireland as well as a luxury two night stay with B&B and one evening meal provided by Ireland’s Blue Book.
This year’s Most Appropriately Dressed Lady was won by Caroline Martin from Tempo while Robert Wallace from Ballynahinch was crowned the Most Appropriately Dressed Gent. Runner-up winners were Ellen Deery from Dundalk and Alan Martin from Hertfordshire.
On the day, the Flower Wall was kindly provided by the Blossom Lane Co, Hillsborough.
Tourism NI Equips Industry for Incentive Travel Excellence
Tourism NI and The Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Ireland have joined forces to deliver an educational initiative to support the tourism industry here as it continues to recover and rebuild, and with the aim of securing business from high value tourism markets.
The Certified Incentive Specialist qualification from SITE is the first stage of a programme of activity designed to further develop the incentive tourism industry in Northern Ireland, provide networking and destination awareness opportunities, as well as equip businesses with the knowledge to deliver motivational travel experiences for future clients.
Participants included Glenshane Country Farm, Titanic Belfast, Larchfield Estate, Hilton Hotel Belfast, Linen Mill Studios, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, National Trust Giant’s Causeway, Taste & Tour, Clayton Hotel Belfast, Visit Derry, Hastings Hotels, Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast and Killeavey Castle.
The partnership agreement between Tourism NI and SITE Ireland first launched in 2020 and has been extended to 2022 due to demand.
Eimear Callaghan, Business Solutions Manager at Tourism NI commented:
“We are pleased to announce the continuation of our valued partnership with SITE Ireland. This is a very challenging time for the tourism industry and our relationship with SITE offers opportunities on a global platform to promote Northern Ireland as a world class Incentive Travel destination to international clients looking for new programmes from the island of Ireland. Incentive Travel is focused on amazing experiences and through Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit, we have a range of immersive experiences well suited to this market.”
She added: “At Tourism NI, we continue to work with a range of key strategic stakeholders to position Northern Ireland as a destination of choice for MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Exhibitions). This business is lucrative, with the average MICE delegate worth on average three times that of the leisure visitor.
“I congratulate the 15 industry representatives who successfully completed their CIS certification, and we look forward to delivering further opportunities for our industry together with SITE Ireland.”
Michael Dalton, Immediate Past President, SITE Ireland, added:
“SITE Ireland is extremely grateful for the commitment of Tourism Northern Ireland to the professional development of the industry in the Incentive Sector. The Incentive Travel Industry is very niche and can be hard to grasp. The Certified Incentive Specialist Course provides all the knowledge anyone working in this sector should possess.
“It is the most lucrative segment and highest spend of all Business Tourism. Great to now have 30 Certified Incentive Specialists in Northern Ireland. This is sure to provide clients with the confidence of a destination that delivers exceptional incentive experiences, understands the value of incentive travel and is 100% incentive ready.”