Local bus company teams up with South Armagh hotel for North East tourism drive in United States

Matthews Coaches and the Cross Square Hotel have banded together to promote the North East as a tourist destination to Americans on a presentation tour in the United States

Matthews Coaches and the Cross Square Hotel have banded together to promote the North East as a tourist destination to Americans on a presentation tour in the United States

The companies self-funded the business venture in a bid to encourage American tourists to visit Louth, Monaghan and South Armagh.

The cross-border group said it has formed “firm, and hopefully long-lasting”, links with prominent Irish organisations, universities and colleges and partners in the travel trade.

“Both sides of the border were seen as somewhat off the tourism trail until recent times because of The Troubles,” said Colm Murphy, Travel Coordinator with Matthews Tours, who offer a range of tours around Ireland.

“There are few trips to compare to the likes of Slieve Gullion, the Mourne Mountains, the heritage sites of the Boyne Valley, or the medieval town of Carlingford.”

Cross Square Hotel Managing Director Fiona Kieran said: “The demolition of the Lookout Towers, the withdrawal of the British Army and the opening of the first hotel in Crossmaglen in over 100 years in March 2006 has exposed a pure and natural unspoilt area crying out to be discovered.”

The presentations in both cities concentrated on presenting the North East’s cultural heritage and its landscape. They also highlighted the increasing technology-based business opportunities in the region.

“There is a huge interest in both ‘The Gathering’ and the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast next year, and we have the expertise and infrastructure to be able to maximize the experience for groups,” said Colm.

The companies were hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which sends a tour group of Irish-Americans concerned with reconciliation to Ireland every year.