Ten Italian tour operators specialising in religious tourism visited Ireland recently on a fact-finding trip.
Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in Italy, the tour operators were here to experience at first-hand some of the culture and Christian heritage tourism product on offer here. The aim of the visit was to encourage the influential operators to include Ireland in their future programmes and itineraries and to recommend it as a destination of choice for their clients. Arrangements for the tour operators’ itinerary in Ireland were put in place by Fáilte Ireland. They visited places like Monasterboice, Glendalough, Newgrange and the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Italy, said: “It is very important for influential tour operators such as these to experience for themselves the high standard of the tourism product on offer in this part of Ireland; our aim is that when they return home, the tour operators will include Ireland in their programmes and itineraries. Tourism Ireland has a busy promotional programme in place to grow visitor numbers from Italy in 2012. Working with our industry partners, we are promoting the distinctiveness of Ireland, the great value available and the ease of getting there from Italy.”
Italian tour operators at Newgrange, Co Meath, with Siobhán Wright, Tourism Ireland Italy (third from 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 (+6% 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.