Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland invited 23 leading tour operators to visit Wicklow and Kildare earlier this week, as part of a fact-finding visit to the East coast. The group included operators from the Middle East and South Africa, as well as representatives of UK inbound travel companies which are responsible for putting in place the arrangements for visitors to GB and the island of Ireland from all over the world.
The tour operators were here to experience at first-hand some of the many things to see and do in this part of Ireland, before travelling on to Limerick where they attended a B2B workshop, meeting with tourism providers from across the island. During their time here, the operators paid a visit to Powerscourt House and Gardens, before travelling on to Glendalough. In Co Kildare, they visited the National Stud and Japanese Gardens and engaged in some ‘retail therapy’ at Kildare Village.
Commenting on the visit of these tour operators, Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “We are delighted that these influential tour operators have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. 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 like the Middle East and South Africa. Tourism Ireland is very active right now in emerging markets, working to raise the profile of Ireland as a premier holiday and business tourism destination and familiarisation visits such as this are an important part of that promotional effort.”
Tour operators from South Africa, the Middle East and GB, with Caroline Mulligan, Tourism Ireland (front, second right) at Powerscourt House and Gardens, Co Wicklow.
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.