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Ulster University, in partnership with Causeway Chamber & Londonderry Chamber, are inviting key tourism stakeholders from the North Coast & North West to reflect and celebrate the dividends that peace has brought to the sector.

This event is the first occasion that both Chambers are working in collaboration, marking the significant economic impact the industry has had upon the region in the last twenty-five years.

This summit reflects on the growth and development of tourism made possible through the conditions created by the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (BGFA).

Evolving from an industry which prior had to operate in an extremely challenging environment, not least due to the international media image and portrayal of Northern Ireland which was often not conducive to attracting global visitors. In the 25 years since the BGFA, tourism has not only developed and grown in Northern Ireland, it has flourished, becoming a £1 billion industry by 2019.

From new state of the art visitor attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway centre, Titanic Belfast and the Game of Thrones Studio Tour to the hosting of internationally renowned sporting events such as the 148th Open Golf championship at Portrush to an increasingly diverse and award-winning food and drink offering, Northern Ireland has reached truly significant tourism heights.

As such this summit not only reflects and celebrates this tourism growth under the themes of fair winds, fairways and fine fayre through an excellent range of industry and academic speakers, but also lays down a challenge to those present for what can and needs to be achieved over the next 25 years.

The anticipated outcome of the summit is to set the blueprint for tourism to continue to thrive and develop, reaching even newer heights in terms of success and as such making a highly significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s economy and developing an enhanced civic pride that so many visitors from all around the globe want to visit, experience and share what this magnificent place has to offer.

9.15 Arrival coffee & registration
9.45 Welcome from Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, University Provost, Ulster University
9.50 Conference Challenge: Dr Peter Bolan, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality & Tourism, Ulster University
9.55 Welcome from host Mark Carruthers

Session 1: Tourism in Context NI Tourism: past, present & future

Professor Stephen Boyd, Ulster University Tourism NI: Where do we go from here? John McGrillen, Tourism NI Global growth and the island of Ireland Helen McGorman, Tourism Ireland Air travel enabling global connectivity Brenda Morgan, City of Derry Airport


Session 2 Cultural Tourism – Fairwinds

The urban village initiative tourism & heritage project Dr Máire Braniff, Ulster University
Derry Girls and the Peace Story Odhrán Dunne, Visit Derry
The Making of a Screen tourism destination Mary McVey, NI Screen
City of culture and beyond Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Fringe Festival


Session 3 Active Tourism – Fairways

The Open and the North Coast John Lawler, General Manager, Royal Portrush Golf
Club Trekking, storytelling and sharing Mark Rodgers, Dalriada Kingdom Tours
On the crest of a wave Ricky Martin, Alive Surf School, Portrush

Sport as a driver for innovation in transforming the Tourism offer Emily McCorkell, Lo & Slo

11.40  Coffee break

Session 4 Gastronomy – Fine Fayre

Hopes for food and drink tourism in Northern Ireland - Our food Power of Good Michele Shirlow, Chief Executive of Food NI
Taste Causeway Geri Martin, The Chocolate Manor
Sustainable sustenance Jeannette Bryson, The Dirty Souls
Heritage and hops James Huey, Walled City Brewery, Derry


Session 5 The Open and Beyond Panel discussion chaired by host, Mark Carruthers, with Q&A

Anne Marie McGoldrick, President, Causeway Chamber of Commerce
Selina Horshi, President, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce
Dr Joanne Stuart, NI Tourism Alliance
Dr Wilma Erskine, Former manager of Royal Portrush Golf Club
Colin Neill, Hospitality Ulster


Showcase of local food & beverages from North Coast & North West region

Visit our Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management Faculty stand during lunch and find out how your business can engage with Ulster University. You can find out more on the department by emailing

14.30 Merci beaucoup & bon voyage! Professor Paul Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor, Ulster University

This event is by invitation only.

Causeway Chamber
Londonderry Chamber

Event info

This event has ended

Thursday 1 June

9.15am to 2.30pm

Bannview Suite