Glentoran Football Club is delighted to announce that the club’s highly successful Groundhopper Tour initiative has been shortlisted in the Eastside Award for Tourism Experience at the 2020 Eastside Awards.
The initiative was devised and is managed by the club’s Commercial Manager, Simon Wallace. Simon spoke to www.glentoran.com on being told of the shortlisting:
“I conceived and developed the bespoke Groundhopper package to meet the demand of occasional football tourists/groundhoppers as the Oval is considered an iconic stadium in groundhopper circles. We launched the initiative in August 2018 and to date we have welcomed over 300 visitors from across the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, USA, Canada, Finland, Japan and Italy.
We created a bespoke advertising campaign for The Netherlands and have had a great response and are in the process of creating a similar one for the German market. We have established links with football tour operator groups in The Netherlands and have received excellent word of mouth recommendations for the tours across European groundhopper sites. We have sold out the Linfield tour for March 2020 and have over 70 tours booked for the next 3 months from across Europe. So, we are going from strength to strength.
The matchday tours are hosted by Glentoran historian Sam Robinson who provides an authentic and entertaining history of the club and its place in the community of East Belfast. Guests also receive a match ticket, souvenir badge and a welcome drink. Feedback has been exceptional, and we have made many friends across Europe with the story of our great club and the warmth of the welcome.”
Jonathan McAlpin, Chief Executive of East Belfast Enterprise and Chair of Eastside Awards Committee, said: “The Eastside Awards is truly at the forefront of celebrating all that is good about East Belfast and this year’s finalists should be extremely proud of themselves, in being shortlisted, as our judges had some difficult decisions to make, due to the high calibre of entries from local people across the community.
"We are looking forward to recognising these finalists at our awards ceremony in January which will be a truly memorable occasion with DJing legend Terri Hooley entertaining us as he embarks on his farewell tour.”
Winners will be announced at a glittering celebration in Hastings Stormont Hotel on Friday January 24, 2020, with entertainment provided by legendary East Belfast-born DJ Terri Hooley.
For further information about the Eastside Awards ceremony or to purchase a ticket, visit: https://www.eastsideawards.org/awards-ceremony.html
Also shortlisted for the Tourism Category are Eastside Tourism and East Belfast Mission – Turas.