Taste of the North Coast
Tour operators from places as far-flung as New Zealand and Australia, and as close as neighbouring Scotland and Republic of Ireland, indulged their senses on the North Coast recently when they sampled the sights and tastes of the local area.
The group of industry professionals were treated to the complete North Coast experience on a recent overnight trip from Belfast following on from the 2016 Tourism Northern Ireland ‘Meet the Buyer’ workshop.
Their visit included a photo stop at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and a guided walking tour of the Giant’s Causeway - even the normally volatile North Coast weather pulled out all the stops, and the causeway stones gleamed in the early evening sunshine.
After an invigorating walk, they were treated to drinks and hexagon-shaped savoury nibbles at the historic 3-star Causeway Hotel, where they also had rooms for the night.
‘It [the causeway] is absolutely exquisite,’ said Nico Ware, of German tour company Service-Reisen Giessen. ‘It’s famous; even people know it that are not in the tourism business. I could recommend it to groups of all ages’.
Tourism Northern Ireland’s ‘Meet the Buyer’ is an annual networking event aiming to attract high-quality tour operators and global tourism business to the region. Some of the operators have been promoting the Giant’s Causeway and Northern Ireland for many years but were nevertheless delighted to have the experience themselves.
" ‘It’s ten years since I’ve last visited. It has been too long!'"
‘It’s ten years since I’ve last visited,’ said Anne Graham, House of Travel, New Zealand. ‘It has been too long! The Visitor Centre at the causeway adds to the experience because of the interactive nature of it. It’s totally somewhere that I’d recommend’.
In keeping with Discover Northern Ireland's 2016 Year of Food & Drink campaign (which focuses on selling the province as a destination for food aficionados) the tour operators were given a goody bag filled with locally sourced treats.
Products included a sample of Bushmills Irish whiskey, full butter shortbread from the County Down, honey from Rasharkin and smoked sea salt from Ballycastle. Also included was a book of delicious and adventurous recipes by Broughgammon farm, a family-run business described as a forerunner in Northern Ireland's modern food revolution.