The Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association celebrated its 30th anniversary as the industry begins to bounce back from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

NITGA Chairperson Catherine Burns, speaking at Belfast City Hall, said: “We are celebrating the impact that professional tourist guides have had in the growth of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland. Tourist guides are great ambassadors for our country, able to bring alive the culture, history and stories that make us unique. We are often the first local people that visitors may meet and it’s important that we give a lasting impression and a warm welcome.

She was speaking on International Tourist Guide Day – a celebration of the skills and professionalism of tourist guides throughout the world. Tourism is a big part of the Northern Ireland economy with 2019 figures showing that there were 5.3 million overnight trips generating £1 billion in revenue. While the industry was badly hit by Covid, many tourist guides are beginning to see signs of recovery.

Catherine added: “We’re now looking forward to a resurgence in tourism as visitors return in greater numbers and NITGA members will play a very important role in this post-Covid economic recovery.”

There are more than 100 NITGA members, all professionally qualified guides covering every region and many who can speak a wide range of languages including Japanese, Russian, German, French and Chinese.

NITGA has developed links to the wider tourist industry and represents Northern Ireland at the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) and the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA).

To find out more about NITGA go to