20 Oct 2011

A group of influential tour operators from the Middle East visited Donegal this week as part of a fact-finding trip to Ireland. Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in Dubai, in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, the tour operators were here to experience at first-hand some of what this part of Ireland has to offer holidaymakers from the Gulf Countries. The aim of the trip was to encourage the visiting operators to feature Donegal and Ireland as a new destination in their programmes or to extend the Irish content of their existing programmes.

The tour operators stayed in Arnolds Hotel in Dunfanaghy and during their time in Donegal, they enjoyed an afternoon of horse riding on Kilahoey Beach and a walking tour of the area with local tour guide Brendan Rohan. They also stopped in Letterkenny where they had lunch at the Yellow Pepper restaurant.

Commenting on the visit of these tour operators, Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Asia, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted these influential tour operators have had the opportunity to experience for themselves the tourism product on offer in this part of Ireland. While we are working hard in the traditional tourism markets of Great Britain and the US, Tourism Ireland is also very active right now in markets like the Gulf States to raise the profile of the island of Ireland as a premier holiday destination, highlighting the visa waiver scheme introduced by the Government earlier this year, which has made it easier for tourists from emerging tourism markets to visit Ireland.”

                                                                                                                      Tour operators from the Middle East on Killahoey Beach, Co Donegal, where they enjoyed an afternoon of horse-riding as part of their familiarisation visit to Ireland.


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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