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Economy Minister promotes Northern Ireland to leading travel industry representatives in New York

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12 March, 2024

Minister Conor Murphy sets out vision for tourism growth

New York, 12th March 2024 – “The north is a fantastic part of Ireland’s tourist offering” – that was the message from the Economy Minister for Northern Ireland to leading travel industry representatives from the tri-State area attending a Tourism Ireland event in New York today. 

Conor Murphy MLA, visiting the US for the first time since the restoration of the power-sharing executive, outlined a vision for sustainable tourism growth – that will support local economies, communities and the environment.

Minister Murphy said: “The United States is an extremely important market for tourism. It’s a market which has a strong affinity with Ireland, our values and our ambitions. We know that American visitors typically stay longer, tour around the island and spend more than visitors from other markets. And we believe that tourism from the US can grow significantly in the years ahead.

“Tourism is one of our largest indigenous industries, supporting around 65,000 jobs across the north of Ireland, with the majority of those jobs located outside of Belfast. It’s an industry where rural entrepreneurs can thrive, one that is deeply rooted in the fabric of our society and is sustaining local communities. I’m committed to helping more visitors discover the beauty of our regions. I have a vision for our economy in which tourism is one of the key drivers of growth.” 

Minister Murphy outlined some of the many great reasons for US travellers to choose Northern Ireland for a vacation this year. He mentioned the historic walled city of Derry, home to Europe’s largest Halloween festival and a ‘must visit’ moment, given Halloween originated in Celtic culture 2,000 years ago on the island of Ireland. He spoke about the beauty and diversity on offer from the UNESCO Geopark of Mourne Gullion Strangford in the East to Fermanagh in the West, as well as Belfast 2024, a yearlong programme of culture and creativity. 

Speaking in New York, Alice Mansergh, Chief Executive Designate of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister Murphy to New York and are grateful to him for taking the time to meet with us and our key partners for tourism from the US, including leading tour operators, airlines and media. Tourism Ireland’s aim is to increase the value of overseas tourism to the island of Ireland by an average +5.6% per year over the next six years to 2030 and, specifically, to increase the value by +6.5% per year to Northern Ireland and regions outside Dublin, supporting economies and communities.

“In 2024, we are showcasing iconic reasons to travel to the island of Ireland, expanding people’s bucket lists from best-known spots to hidden gems. It’s an exciting year ahead. Belfast 2024 and the Irish Open in Royal County Down are among the hooks to promote Northern Ireland, alongside consistent reasons to travel for stunning scenery, heritage and warm culture.

“It has never been easier to get to Ireland from the United States. This summer there will be direct, non-stop flights operating from 17 US gateways to Dublin, serving the island, including new or relaunched gateways from Denver and Minneapolis.  We look forward to welcoming US visitors.”

Minister Conor Murphy MLA (centre) with Alison Metcalfe (left) and Alice Mansergh, both Tourism Ireland, before an event for travel industry representatives in New York.

Notes to Editors:

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, with 21 market sites available in 18 different countries, as well as one international site, in seven language versions around the world.

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