17 Oct 2011

A group of top travel agents from across the US visited Co Kerry and the South-West over the weekend as part of a fact-finding trip to Ireland, before attending a B2B workshop in Co Laois. Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in New York, in association with American Airlines and Aer Lingus, their itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland.

The travel agents – all members of top-producing US travel agencies – began their visit to Kerry with a jaunting car ride through the Killarney National Park. Next up was a guided tour of the Ring of Kerry, which included a stop for lunch en route at the Smuggler’s Inn in Waterville. The travel agents stayed in Kenmare, in the Sheen Falls Lodge; they also inspected other hotels during their stay, including the Park Hotel in Kenmare and the Killarney Plaza.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Vice-President of Marketing in the United States, said: “We are delighted that so many of these top travel agents took time out of their busy schedules to visit Kerry and the South West.  For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our spectacular scenery, the wealth of historic attractions, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important as they give the travel agents first-hand experience of what we have to offer potential American holidaymakers. Our aim is that when they return to the US they are better equipped to advise their clients about Co Kerry when planning and booking their holidays.

“North America is a very important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland has a busy promotional programme in place right throughout 2011, highlighting Ireland as a fantastic holiday destination. The growth in visitor numbers from North America of +13% for the first seven months of the year is welcome news indeed and is an encouraging basis on which Tourism Ireland, together with our industry partners, will build for the rest of 2011 and into 2012.”

                                                                                                               American travel agents at Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney with Hillarie McGuinness, Tourism Ireland (back, left) and Christina Walsh, Fáilte Ireland (back, fifth from left).


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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