Influential tour operators from Japan visited Galway earlier this week as part of a fact-finding trip to Ireland. Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in Tokyo, in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, the tour operators were here to experience at first-hand what this part of Ireland has to offer Japanese tourists. The aim of the trip was to encourage the visiting operators to feature Galway and Ireland as a new destination in their programmes or to extend the Irish content of their existing programmes.
The group began their trip with a ferry ride from Rossaveal to Inis Mór, where they enjoyed a tour of the island with local guide Michael Nernon, followed by lunch in one of the island’s oldest pubs, Tí Joe Watty’s. The tour operators also enjoyed a walking tour of Galway city and dinner at the Artisan Restaurant. One of the highlights of their visit to Galway was a traditional music session at Tigh Cóilí on Mainguard Street. Their itinerary also included site inspections of various Galway hotels including The g, the Meyrick and the Harbour hotels.
Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Asia, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring these influential tour operators to Galway, so they can experience for themselves the high standard and variety of the tourism product on offer in this part of Ireland for Japanese visitors. The majority of our overseas visitors are from the core markets of Great Britain, Mainland Europe and North America, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by emerging tourism markets in Asia like Japan. Tourism Ireland in Japan is working hard 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.”
Japanese tour operators in Eyre Square, during a familiarisation visit to Galway, with Tomoko Miyake, Tourism Ireland Japan (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.