Liam Neeson promotes Northern Ireland tourism

Liam Neeson Liam Neeson said he was delighted to be asked to "promote the treasures of my homeland"

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Hollywood star Liam Neeson has taken a new role promoting his native Northern Ireland as a tourist destination.

The actor, who was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, has agreed to be the voice of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's latest advertising campaign.

The 61-year-old said he was "delighted" to be asked to "promote the treasures of my homeland".

Neeson shot to international fame in 1993 by playing the lead role in the Oscar-winning film, Schindler's List.

'Best kept secret'

Since then, he has starred in dozens of movies, including Michael Collins, Gangs of New York, Star Wars - The Phantom Menace, and the action series, Taken.

"I've always maintained that Northern Ireland is the world's best kept secret, both in the character of its people and its scenery," Neeson said ahead of the campaign launch.

Liam Neeson is the voice of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board campaign

It is not the first time he has spoken of his pride in hailing from Northern Ireland.

Last year, he said he was honoured and delighted to receive the freedom of Ballymena at a ceremony in the town.

Fee

Alan Clarke, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB), said: "Securing Liam Neeson to do the voiceover for our latest TV campaign is a huge coup and a significant vote of confidence in our tourism industry.

"This marks the first step of a brand new direction for NITB, which will focus on the friendliness of our people and their ability to make a place memorable."

A NITB spokesperson said Neeson was paid for his voice-over as part of its new advertising campaign, but at a "fraction of his usual fee".

They said the sum was a "minimal" part of the overall campaign budget.

Neeson is not the only famous face to take part in the new NITB adverts.

Bronagh Gallagher, who appeared in The Commitments and Pulp Fiction, was filmed giving Hothouse Flowers' lead singer Liam Ó Maonlaí a tour of her native Londonderry.

The campaign will run across TV, radio, online and newspapers from Monday.

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