Celebrating the launch of a unique landmark year in tourism for Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland held a successful VIP event in Dubai on April 16th;
Ministers from Northern Ireland in attendance included First Minister of Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon. Peter Robinson, MLA; deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA and Arlene Foster, MLA, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. The Ministers are visiting the UAE and India as part of a promotional drive for Northern Ireland exports, investment, academia and tourism.
The delegation mixed with travel trade, local media and Northern Irish Diaspora at the lively event which featured replicas of Northern Ireland's iconic attractions; the Titanic Belfast, UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Giant's Causeway and golfing champion Rory McIlroy.
The First Minister, the Rt Hon. Peter Robinson MLA outlined the exciting programme of ni2012 events and attractions: "ni2012 is a unique year long programme of activities which will make Northern Ireland a must see destination. 2012 is our time to take centre stage and show the world that Northern Ireland is a great place to visit for business or holidays."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA said:
"ni2012 is a vast array of attractions and events. This will be followed in 2013 with the World Police and Fire Games which will attract 20,000 participants and my own city of Derry takes up the mantel of the City of Culture. Also in 2013 Derry will host the All-Ireland Fleadh which will attract 300,000 visitors and generate close to £34m."
Taking centre stage in the ni2012 programme is the newly opened Titanic Belfast®, an AED 564 million signature development in Belfast commemorating the centenary of the construction, kitting out and launch of the world's most famous liner. Titanic Belfast® extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to fully explore the Titanic story. In addition, 120 special events including gala concerts, plays and art exhibitions will mark the anniversary as part of Titanic Belfast Festival 2012. Highlights of the120 plus events include one of the largest light shows ever attempted and a MTV 'Rock the Docks' in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast.
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster stressed the importance of the Titanic Project for Northern Ireland Tourism:"Titanic is a globally recognised brand and the new signature project is injecting a renewed and positive interest in Northern Ireland, which is being reflected in the world's media. We are witnessing a piece of history with the opening of Titanic Belfast, and it's a very exciting time for everyone involved."
Another major coup for Northern Ireland 2012 is the return of the Irish Open after an absence of 60 years. The Royal Portrush Golf Club will host the prestigious event and welcome back our international golfing stars.
A state of the art visitor centre at the UNESCO World Heritage site Giant's Causeway also makes its debut in July as part of ni2012.
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