Speaking at the launch today the Minister said: “The new website - www.discovernorthernireland.com - has been designed to take full advantage of the internet`s capabilities.
“Supporting the `Leapfrog to the Information Age` strategy, it showcases many facets of Northern Ireland life including where to eat, where to stay and what to do.”
The Minister said that exploiting the use of information and communication technologies had the potential to bring enormous benefits to Northern Ireland`s growing tourism sector.
“The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is playing a key role in how tourism providers here do buisness and the website and trade guide are excellent tools to promote new sales, marketing opportunities and ultimatley contribute to market growth,” he said.
The Minister said that co-operation with Bord Failte had enabled the Tourist Board to become one of the first national tourism organisations to provide a comprehensive online booking service.
The site will also be linked to other relevant sites such as Bord Failte and the British Tourist Authority as well as online travel guides and tour operators.
Sir Reg urged all those managing tourist accomodation to registar details of their facilities on the Tourist Board database.
He said: “In a highly competitive market place such as tourism, the benefits of such a powerful marketing tool cannot be over-emphasised.
“Visitors can now get up-to-date information tailored to their needs, register their own interests and requirements, plan a holiday itinerary and book the accomodation of their choice, all from the comfort of their own homes.”
At present nearly 30% of accomodation in Northern Ireland is currently bookable online. The Tourist Board aims to achieve 60% of bookable premises by the end of the year.