The Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a weekend of free tours open to the public.
The organisation planned the series of events, all led by their members, over the weekend of 19-21 February to coincide with International Tourist Guide Day.
NITGA Chairperson Catherine Burns said: “We are celebrating the impact that professional tourist guides have had in the growth of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. Tourist guides are great ambassadors for our country, able to bring alive the culture, history and stories that make us unique. We are often the first local people that visitors may meet and it’s important that we give a lasting impression and a warm welcome.”
Tourism is a big part of the Northern Ireland economy with 2019 figures showing that there were 5.3 million overnight trips generating £1 billion in revenue. While the industry was badly hit by Covid, many tourist guides are beginning to see signs of recovery.
Catherine added: “We’re now looking forward to a re-surgence in tourism as visitors return in greater numbers and NITGA members will play a very important role in this post-Covid economic recovery.”
There are now more than 100 NITGA members, all professionally qualified guides covering every region and many who can speak a wide range of languages including Japanese, Russian, German, French and Chinese.
NITGA has developed links to the wider tourist industry and represents Northern Ireland at the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) and the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA).
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