David Boyce, director, USA, of the Northern Ireland Tourist
Board discusses the impact of recent developments on tourism to
Northern Ireland with contributing editor Marilee Crocker.
TW: What are the implications for tourism of last year's
political settlement in Northern Ireland?
Boyce: Now we have all the politicians from all communities in
Ireland, North and south, talking about how to make Northern
Ireland a more attractive destination for investment, including in
tourism. Once we have a stable environment in political terms, I
think everything is driven forward. As you know, the top attraction
in all of Ireland - Giant's Causeway - happens to be in Northern
Ireland. Two of the top 10 golf courses in the world are there. A
new Hilton opened in Belfast in September. Boutique hoteliers from
Dublin are opening hotels in Belfast. All those elements point to a
very positive tourism future for Ireland and particularly the
TW: In the past few years you've undertaken joint marketing with
the Irish Tourist Board. Why is that appropriate and can you
comment on its success?
Boyce: There's no doubt that the overseas tourism marketing
initiative that we do jointly with the Irish Tourist Board, which
is a $4 million advertising campaign, certainly has had an effect
on tourism to Ireland as a whole and particularly to Northern
TW: What special interest market niches are you emphasizing?
Boyce: We've just launched new brochures on cycling and on
horseback riding. Because of the fact that Northern Ireland is
unspoiled, we have an awful lot of areas yet to be explored by
cyclists. We have itineraries that have been set, and ground
operators in place. With horseback riding, we have some of the best
treks in all of Ireland. Ireland as a whole is one of the best
destinations for that. In the cultural market, we just completed a
fam trip for people who do alumni and museum groups. We wanted them
to see our houses and gardens and museums. We're confident of
getting a couple of groups booked for '99.