One hundred and eighty leading tourism and travel representatives from South Africa arrived in Ireland this weekend to attend the 2011 conference of the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA). This is the first time that ASATA has held its annual conference in Ireland.
Delegates who have flown in to attend the conference, which is taking place at Druids Glen Resort in Co Wicklow, include top senior management from major international airlines, tour operators, and retail travel agencies. It is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the island of Ireland’s tourism offering and will encourage further growth in Irish tourism from South Africa. Ireland won the prestigious event amid stiff competition from Turkey.
The conference was officially opened by Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons, who said: “We are delighted that Ireland was chosen as the venue for this year’s ASATA annual conference. It is a wonderful platform to showcase the island of Ireland as a premier holiday and business tourism destination and an opportunity for us to develop our contacts with South Africa and other long-haul markets. The high level of attendance reflects the enthusiasm for the island of Ireland as a destination.”
Many of the delegates are extending their stay, taking part in pre- and post-conference tours and taking advantage of the opportunity to see more of Ireland and to experience the breadth of our tourism product, our historic attractions and spectacular scenery.
Ireland welcomes about 30,000 South African visitors each year, who stay an average of five to seven nights.
Aileen Strachan, Druids Glen Resort with Jo Schütten, President of ASATA; South African Ambassador to Ireland, HE Mr AJD Ndou; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.
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 6.9 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.