Tourism NI creates data hub to boost local tourism industry

  • Photo: Tourism NI's Chief Digital Officer Dave Vincent

    Tourism NI is gearing up for Northern Ireland's post-pandemic recovery with digital development and an increasing use of data through its recent Tourism Recovery Action Plan.

    The organisation's Chief Digital Officer, Dave Vincent said that part of that development is "through the use of a destination management platform."

    "It has a host of features such as listings, offers and partnerships," he explained.

    “It’s in 900 destinations around the world, and we are using it for the Discover NI site and we have provided access to all 11 council regions.

    “Visit Causeway, Visit Mourne, Visit Derry, Visit Lisburn and Castlereagh are already live and more will come, meaning visitors can see the same quality and content. They will be able to look at what is in each area and book, plan and make their time here better.

    “It will mean we have the first real, collaborative platform which is certainly the direction of travel we at Tourism NI want to take.”

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    Tourism NI is also working to further develop its own data hub and dashboard of information which will enable the sharing of data throughout the industry, to improve tourist attractions and foresee what visitors are most interested in. 

    “This includes questionnaires completed at airports, sensors recording activity at places like the Mournes and Derry Walls, and a range of other data that can be shared," Mr Vincent continued. 

    “We've got the sensors, they tell a story about where people are. We have also acquired credit card data, so we can tell what our key markets are spending, where in the destination they are spending and what they are spending on.

    “I’ve got telecoms data, and we’re also collecting review data in real-time so I can look back on the visitor experience.

    "The aim is for businesses to register and get access to a range of tools. They will also get access to application forms, they can see the status of claims, grants, mentoring,” he said.

    “It also means when the business has content we can share with a distribution platform, at the push of a button, have the content out on Visit GB, Trip Advisor,, and many more. That will be even more powerful when people share their information.”

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    Throughout the pandemic, many companies received investment in a website audit through Tourism NI's grants, with content and videography, so that businesses could engage in digital storytelling to explain what they do.

    "Marry that with the Destination Management Platform and the business can work better, and we at Tourism NI have more tools to attract visitors," said Mr Vincent. 

    "Our work with Tourism Ireland, also, is about making the online space one which funnels people to choose a visit to the island of Ireland.”

    “What the lockdown has done is accelerate some of the thinking around the digital-first customer experience and journey,” he concluded, adding: “This all works towards creating a very attractive proposition for potential visitors”.

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    For more information on how Tourism NI can support businesses visit:

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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