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Local Dating Expert Says: “Online Dating Apps Finally Meeting Their Match(maker)”

Tinder, Bumble and Plenty of Fish. Online dating apps have been popular for a number of years as people take their search for love into cyberspace, where a nice picture and a mere swipe to the right are enough to capture someone’s attention.

However, while that used to be enough, in the world of dating apps it’s easy to seem someone that you’re not.

According to a report by matchmaking services could be gaining the upper hand over the dating apps. Tired of fraudulent profiles and the somewhat superficial nature of online dating profiles, some people are now turning to the more secure service matchmakers provide, where singles can meet someone who is more serious about dating and who is interested in more than their potential partner’s bank account or looks.

Playing it safe with matchmaking

Claire Hughes from Northern Ireland matchmaking company Soiree Society said: “Matchmaking services offer a layer of safety that dating apps don’t. Whereas with dating apps you never quite know who is sitting on the other side of the dinner table or buying your drinks or coffee, a matchmaking service screens each of its clients to make sure they’re genuine and are there for both a long time and a good time. It’s not the service for someone looking for casual dating.”

Best of all, these services are private and confidential. You don’t have to let the whole online world know everything about you while you look out for love. It all stays between you and the matchmakers, who then use the information you provide them to find a compatible match for you.

Claire believes these attributes are what could be causing people to turn their backs on dating apps.

She explained: “We get lots of men and women coming through our doors who feel uncomfortable about sharing information or images in online dating profiles or who have gone out on dates and have started to feel unsafe or uncomfortable during the date. We want dating to be safe, enjoyable and successful for anyone who comes to us, which is why we screen everyone who comes to us.”

Taking care of the legwork

Then there’s the frustrations dating apps can bring. You can get swiped left into infinity. You can get ghosted. You can get cancelled on at short notice. You can message several times only to find out the other person is just looking for casual dating. It can burn you out.

“You can get to the point where it feels like another job” said Claire, adding: “This is where matchmaking services can step in and pick up the baton for you.”

While you’re getting on with your everyday life, the matchmakers will be picking up the legwork and continuing the search for you. To go to a matchmaking service is to get serious.

And Claire knows what her clients go through. She revealed: “We’ve heard some horrendous stories about the way people have treated each other on dating apps. The people that come to us are serious about finding that special person, which is why our services can make the dating experience more pleasant.”

A better experience for your wellbeing?

There have even been suggestions that dating apps can influence how users control their weight. Although not conclusive, research has found that dating app users may be more at risk of resorting to unhealthy ways to control their weight, such as vomiting, laxatives, diet pills and fasting. The research also discovered that men who used dating apps were more likely to take anabolic steroids.

Unlike dating apps, on which images are a major component of profiles, matchmaking services can present personalities in a different way. The matchmakers can search the required information for a potential partner and return with someone who the client may find attractive purely based on this information.

If you’re feeling frustrated with dating apps — or even just feeling wary of them — you may wish to try out a matchmaking service instead. It could change your whole experience of dating. More importantly, that special someone may be waiting there for you — and they’ll be exactly who they say they are.

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Travel & Tourism

Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent Crowned at 2021 Balmoral Show

The Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent at the 2021 Balmoral Show was won by Caroline Martin from Tempo and Robert Wallace from Ballynahinch. Flower Wall kindly provided by the Blossom Lane Co, Hillsborough.

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.

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Travel & Tourism

Tourism NI Equips Industry for Incentive Travel Excellence

Front (l to r): Kim Smart, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Hannah Watson, Larchfield Estate, Michael Dalton, SITE Ireland Chapter, Joanne Taylor, Tourism NI, Charlene Lourens-Griffiths, Visit Derry, Naomi Wilson, Clayton Hotel Belfast and Caitriona Lavery, Hastings Hotels. Back (l to r): Caroline Wilson, Taste & Tour, Ashleigh Hamilton, Killeavey Castle, Jennifer Michael, National Trust Giant's Causeway, Jamese McCloy, Glenshane Country Farm, Terry Kelly, Killeavey Castle, Kellie-Anne Small, Hilton Hotel Belfast, Judy Hutton, Linen Mill Studios, Jonathan Campbell, Titanic Belfast and Stephanie Sheerin, Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast.

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.”

Front (l to r): Michael Dalton, SITE Ireland Chapter, Charlene Lourens-Griffiths, Visit Derry, Joanne Taylor, Tourism NI and Caitriona Lavery, Hastings Hotels. Middle (l to r): Caroline Wilson, Taste & Tour, Naomi Wilson, Clayton Hotel Belfast, Hannah Watson, Larchfield Estate, Ashleigh Hamilton, Killeavey Castle, Kim Smart, Hillsborough Castle and Stephanie Sheerin, Fitzwilliam Hotel. Back (l to r): Jamese McCloy, Glenshane Country Farm, Terry Kelly, Killeavey Castle, Judy Hutton, Linen Mill Studios, Jennifer Michael, National Trust Giant’s Causeway, Jonathan Campbell, Titanic Belfast and Kellie-Anne Small, Hilton Hotel Belfast.

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.”

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