Thirty of the top coach tour operators from six European countries – including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway – visited the South West last week, for a B2B workshop with tourism providers in Killarney and to take part in a fact-finding visit of Cork city and county. Their visit was organised by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.
During their time here, the tour operators visited Blarney Castle and the Jameson Whiskey Experience in Midleton, before travelling to Cobh, where their itinerary included a Titanic walking tour with local historian Dr Michael Martin and a visit to the Titanic Experience. In Cork city, they visited the Cork City Gaol and enjoyed a walking tour of the city, taking in the English Market and the Ogham Stones at UCC.
Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said: “We are delighted that so many of these influential coach and group tour operators took time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Co Cork and Ireland. The aim of the trip was to encourage the visiting operators to feature Cork and Ireland as a new destination in their programmes or to extend the Ireland content of their existing programmes. For many of the group, 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.
“The operators’ visit was also a valuable 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 in Mainland Europe, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is also working closely with influential tour operators and travel agents, so that they will encourage their clients to come here next year to enjoy the festivals and events of ‘The Gathering’.”
European coach tour operators at the Jameson Experience Midleton, Co Cork
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.