Twenty-one leading British coach and group tour operators travelled to Ireland last week, to attend a B2B workshop in Sligo and to take part in a fact-finding visit which also took in counties Donegal and Mayo.
As well as a walking tour of Donegal town, the tour operators paid a visit to Donegal Castle and to the Daniel O’Donnell Visitor Centre in Dungloe and enjoyed a guided walk of the Slieve League Cliffs. Their itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, also included Mayo, with a tour of Foxford Woollen Mills, a site inspection of the Pontoon Bridge Hotel and a visit to the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Turlough Park.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that so many of these influential coach and group tour operators took time out from their busy schedules to come and visit this part of Ireland. Great Britain is Ireland’s largest and most important tourism market and visits like this provide an excellent opportunity for us to position the island of Ireland as a ‘must-see’ destination. 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 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 GB, 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’.”
GB coach tour operators in the Daniel O’Donnell Visitor Centre in Dungloe, Co Donegal, with Debbie Moran, Tourism Ireland (second right), and Pat Nora Gallagher, Daniel O'Donnell Centre (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.