Lesley-Ann O’Donnell, Tourism NI, is pictured with hospitality industry representatives including Jonathan Wade, Grand Central Hotel Head Concierge and David Gillmore, Chef at James Street & Co.
TOURISM NI is calling on Northern Ireland to provide a ‘Giant Welcome’ as more than 215,000 eager spectators are set to descend on the Causeway Coast for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.
From the local tourism and hospitality industry to schools, sports clubs and families, everyone is invited to show their pride and excitement as the greatest golfers in the world, for the first time in nearly 70 years, prepare to battle it out, between July 18 – 21, for the prestigious Claret Jug over the Dunluce Links.
To get behind the Giant Welcome, the Northern Ireland public are invited to simply post a photograph or video on social media to demonstrate how they are supporting The Open, using #GiantWelcome #TheOpen.
The recent Visitor Attitude Survey from Tourism NI reveals that a friendly welcome helped Northern Ireland meet and exceed the expectations of 97% of leisure visitors and an astounding 95% of out of state leisure visitors indicated they would recommend it to others. Additionally, responding visitors all marked friendliness of local people and staff at over eight marks out of ten.
Lesley-Ann O’Donnell, Tourism NI Project Manager for The Open said; “With the eyes of the world truly on Northern Ireland this July, the Giant Welcome is about promoting the best of what we have to offer as a globally recognised destination.
“We already have some great examples of hotels, shops, restaurants, golf clubs and visitor attractions pulling out all the stops to give visitors a special NI welcome for golf fans and visitors alike. The #GiantWelcome provides a great opportunity to share our best and most creative welcomes to the world.”
In partnership with eight local councils, Tourism NI exceeded its target in the number of WorldHost Ambassadors for Golf trained ahead of The 148th Open this month. Over 550 delegates successfully completed the training, equipping the participants with the necessary skills and resources and helping them create a warm and friendly welcome for visitors. The WorldHost training programme, facilitated by People 1st International, is aimed at the retail, tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors.
As added incentive, the most creative posts for the #GiantWelcome will be up for some fantastic money can’t buy prizes on offer; including a professional golf lesson and overnight stay on the Causeway Coast awarding the efforts of individuals from across Northern Ireland.
Industry and tourism trade efforts will also be recognised with a prestigious trophy awarded to those displaying their most imaginative #GiantWelcome on social media.
Tourism NI will share and showcase the warmest welcomes for The 148th Open on its online channels, for more information visit: discovernorthernireland.com/agiantwelcome and www.nimadeforgolf.com
It is truly an epic year for Northern Ireland tourism as The Open at Royal Portrush will also be beamed live to over 600 million households across the world.
A team of 6,000 staff and 350 volunteers from across Northern Ireland are preparing to warmly welcome visitors in three weeks’ time. The 148th Open is widely expected to be remembered by players and spectators alike as one of the highlights of the Championship's long and illustrious history.