New £11m tourism campaign aims to attract autumn and winter visitors

Halloween celebrations in Derry last year. File picture by Margaret McLaughlin

AN £11 million tourism campaign has been launched to attract travellers to Northern Ireland during the autumn and early winter months.

The Tourism Ireland campaign aims to encourage tourism in rural areas and less-popular attractions.

According to the tourism body, up to 30 per cent of the north's overseas tourism happens between September and December.

The campaign will highlight key festivals and events including the Belfast International Arts Festival, the Armagh Food & Cider Festival and the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival.

Tourism Ireland is aiming to capitalise on the fall in the value of sterling, caused in part by uncertainty over Brexit, by highlighting the north as a value-for-money destination.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said the campaign is being rolled out in North America, mainland Europe, Britain, Australia and emerging tourism markets.

"Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends around the world, as there is still plenty of business to play for," he said.

"Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks and autumn is a really good opportunity, with many world-class festivals and events happening here. One of our key objectives is to drive more business to our more rural areas, right throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months.

"Brexit remains an ongoing challenge, giving rise to consumer concern particularly in GB and some Mainland European markets. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our industry colleagues."

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