11 Oct 2011

A group of leading travel agents from across France enjoyed a visit to Kilkenny city and county recently. Their fact-finding trip to Ireland was part of Tourism Ireland’s online training programme for French travel agents, designed to help them sell holidays to the island of Ireland. Each year, the top-performing travel agents are selected by Tourism Ireland in Paris to visit Ireland on completion of their training.

During their time here, the travel agents got to experience at first-hand Co Kilkenny’s unique ambience. Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included a guided tour of Kilkenny Castle, a visit to the Design Centre, as well as a lesson in bodhrán-playing in Kyteler’s Inn. The group overnighted in Hotel Kilkenny.

Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Southern Europe, said:“As a reward for excelling in their training on selling Ireland, this group of travel agents got the chance to come and visit Kilkenny. Familiarisation trips such as this are really important, as influential travel agents get to experience at first-hand the superb tourism product on offer in this part of Ireland, as well as the ease of access from France to Ireland. Our aim is that when they return home, the travel agents will be better equipped to recommend Kilkenny to their clients when planning and booking their holidays.

“France is an important market for tourism to the island of Ireland. The recently announced growth in visitor numbers from France of over +22% for the first half of the year is an encouraging basis on which Tourism Ireland will build for the rest of 2011 and into 2012, driving home messages of Ireland’s friendliness, fun and humour, as well as its stunning landscapes and interesting cultural activities which very much appeal to the French.”

The travel agents’ visit was organised in conjunction with Aer Lingus, Air France, Irish Ferries, Brittany Ferries, Celtic Tours, Gaéland Ashling and Vacances Transat.

Leading French travel agents at Kilkenny Castle with Séverine Lecart, Tourism Ireland France (second from right).


Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland  
Tel:  087-685 9027

Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• Approximately 6.7 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately €3 billion.  Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent.  In 2010 discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.


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