Ten leading travel agents from Belgium flew to Cork from Brussels last week for a fact-finding trip. They were here, as guests of Tourism Ireland and leading Belgian tour operator Exclusive Destinations, to check out some of the many things to see and do here and to find out about what’s in store for Belgian holidaymakers during the special year of ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’.
Their itinerary – designed by Fáilte Ireland – included afternoon tea at Liss Ard Estate near Skibbereen and a tour of the Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare. From there, they travelled around the Ring of Kerry, stopping en route at the Sneem Hotel for lunch. The travel agents also visited the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, Galway and Co Wicklow.
Danielle Neyts, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Belgium, said: “We are delighted that these travel agents have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our spectacular scenery, the many things to do and see here, 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 home to Belgium they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans and trip bookings.
“The agents’ visit was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and the fantastic programme of events planned for next year. This autumn, Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions around the world, to highlight ‘The Gathering’. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is also working closely with influential travel agents, so that they will encourage their clients to come here next year to enjoy the festivals and events of ‘The Gathering’.”
Belgian travel agents at the Hotel Europe, Killarney, Co Kerry, with tour guide Mia Craig (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.
• In 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 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 2011, discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ will be Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative and will consist of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country.
• Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world this autumn, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.