Northern Ireland’s Giant Spirit

by Steve Hartridge

Ireland’s two tourist boards have jointly launched a new destination brand that they hope will ‘change perceptions’ of Northern Ireland.

Embrace a Giant Spirit, a collaboration between Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, showcases 23 ‘authentic experiences’ that is being promoted to the travel trade and, from spring 2020, consumers in both Britain and overseas.

The experiences include traditional music trails in Belfast, watching sheepdogs at work in Londonderry, whiskey-tasting on the Antrim Coast and kayaking on Strangford Lough.

Tourism Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive John McGrillen said: “The Embrace a Giant Spirit brand captures the warmth of the welcome visitors receive when they come to Northern Ireland, the quality of our landscapes and seascapes and the depth and breath of our culture and heritage. The aim is to bridge the gap between how people sometimes perceive Northern Ireland and the phenomenal experiences they actually have when they visit.”

He added: “Strangford Lough is an area of outstanding natural beauty that is peppered with small islands and National Trust properties, yet 99% of British visitors have never heard of it.

“Brent geese arrive in the winter to feed, and you can get out in a canoe or kayak and have seals bobbing along next to you.”

Julie Wakley, Head of Great Britain for Tourism Ireland, the organisation that promotes the entire island of Ireland overseas, said Embrace a Giant Spirit would provide agents with new ideas and inspiration to help them sell the destination to clients looking for an invigorating short break.

“It is about embracing the people, nature and wildlife in authentic ways that will help them get under the skin of Northern Ireland. These experiences provide agents with 23 compelling reasons to build a Northern Ireland itinerary.”

Wakley said agents would be invited to experience the country for themselves in 2020 on a series of fam trips.

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