And every year praise from exhibitors and agents becomes even more fulsome – and deserved.
This year’s event last week at The Hilton, Templepatrick, the eighth, had the biggest attendance of Travel Trade members and agents, the largest number of participating companies, and the best selection of travel prizes to be won.
In addition, there was a hugely successful Blue Insurance Alternative Awards, a phenomenally popular Jet2holidays Got Talent show on the Tuesday evening and the popular Northern Ireland Travel New Golf Classic event on the Wednesday, not to mention a stunning Gala Dinner to round off two days of jam packed sponsored events, meetings, training, networking and of course two exhibition sessions.
One of the major participants at The BIG Travel Trade Event was leading cruise company Royal Caribbean which annually sponsors a highly popular lunch for travel agents.
Jennifer Callister, Head of Ireland for Royal Caribbean, was speaking for many when she described it as a “fantastic event.” “I can’t believe it is over for another year. The NITN staff and the hotel staff could not have been more helpful and the food at the lunch was excellent.”
Dermot Merrigan, Head of Passenger Sales for Irish Ferries, said he was impressed by the performance of all the Travel News team in pulling things together.
“It was quite evident that all of the wonderful Travel News team was on their game and everything seemed seamless and co-ordinated. It was a very professional job.”
Nicola Harper, National Account Manager, Beds with Ease, said she thoroughly enjoyed her first ever Big Event.
“It was my first time attending the event and I have to say not only have I thoroughly enjoyed it but I also made some great contacts. Everything was really well organised and it was the perfect mix of business and pleasure.”
Perhaps some of the most fulsome praise came from a regular to the Big Event, the popular Katerina Bomshtein, from Gran Canaria.
Katerina, who was a popular ‘Legend’ award winner at the Blue Insurance Alternative Awards, said she was “over the moon” with the whole event.
She said it was fantastic and organised to perfection. Katerina said the golf day was perfect, “everything about it was excellent and of course the weather was better than expected”.
“On the first day I had so many travel agents coming to speak to me with a good flow of agents, I also took the opportunity to chat with the suppliers as many tour operators have of course Gran Canaria in their programme.”
Northern Ireland Travel News Events Manager Paula McAreavey said she was particularly pleased by the turnout of travel agents.
“It was the biggest number of agents over the two days and exhibitors – and suppliers were well pleased. There were some really outstandingly successful features such as the ‘Jet2holidays Got Talent’ show on the Tuesday evening and the Blue Insurance Alternative Awards at the Gala Dinner. The Golf Classic was also popular once again with players and sponsors – and of course the weather turned out to be a lot better than was forecast. Roll on 2020!”