A group of travel agents who sell the holiday programmes of leading Belgian tour operator Gallia were in Ireland this week, to check out some of the many things to see and do on a short break or holiday here. Their three-day visit, organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, saw them spend time in Wicklow and Dublin, including a tour of Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough, Malahide Castle and an evening at the Abbey Tavern in Howth.
Danielle Neyts, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Belgium, said: “We are delighted these travel agents took time out of their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland this week. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our wonderful scenery, the wealth of historic and cultural attractions, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important as they help the travel agents to know exactly what we have to offer potential Belgian holidaymakers; the aim is that when they return to their offices they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans and trip bookings.”
Tourism Ireland has a busy promotional programme in place in the Benelux region throughout 2011, highlighting compelling reasons to visit the island of Ireland and the good value available here. The organisation is working flat out to win business and to keep Ireland ‘top of mind’ with potential visitors. Danielle Neyts continued: “The recently announced growth in visitor numbers from the Benelux region of +27% for the first half of the year is welcome news indeed and is an encouraging basis on which Tourism Ireland, together with our industry partners, will build in 2012.”
Belgian travel agents enjoyed a tour of Malahide Castle, where they are pictured with Philippe Bellemans, managing director of Gallia (left).
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 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.