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Catherine Burns, Chair of Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association (NITGA) - Creating & Making the most of Opportunities

Posted 07 Sep, 2020

Tourist Guides are more often the first point of contact for visitors when they arrive in Northern Ireland. It is up to us to ensure that they leave here, having had a warm welcome, that their tour is informative & interesting but overall enjoyable. We want all our visitors to leave here with a desire to return and promote their positive experience with friends and family.

During the current uncertain times when the impact on the hospitality and tourism industry has been catastrophic.

NITGA recognised the need to be proactive and that involved building on relationships already made in the Tourism Sector outside NI. As members of the Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG), we have had the opportunity to forge close links with professional guiding organisations. We were able to extend our network to Europe, as well as closer to home, building and sharing ideas with our fellow guides in the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland & Wales, adopting the attitude that ‘we are all in this together’.

The NITGA contribution to the FEG Associations website gave us the opportunity, not only to provide substantive information about NITGA, but to showcase Northern Ireland.

We have been running a series of Tours throughout NI and these are being posted on social media and also the FEG website.

In the current climate, it isn’t only about making the most of opportunities but creating them where you can. Our membership of FEG has been a crucial part of securing access to other
Guiding organisations.

As Chairman of NITGA, it is vitally important that I am able to keep in close contact with fellow professional guides and our equivalent organisations across Europe. Through this we continue to raise our profile with our European counterparts build upon the great relationships we have already established and make every interaction another opportunity to promote Northern Ireland.

The year of 2020 has been tough for our industry and for so many of our friends and colleagues. But when we do exit from these uncertain times, you can be sure that we will be well placed to maximise the tourism potential across the island of Ireland and continue to greet visitors from across the globe.

Click here to view the recent article promoting Northern Ireland.