A group of influential Italian journalists visited Mayo and Sligo last week. The journalists flew into Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) on the brand new Ryanair flight from Milan (Bergamo), as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with Ryanair.
Given that the journalists all represented media outlets from northern Italy, within easy reach of Milan (Bergamo) Airport, the aim of this visit was to highlight the new Ryanair route and the excellent connectivity between Italy and this part of Ireland. It was also a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the many outdoor activities and things to see and do here for potential Italian holidaymakers.
As well as visits to the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Foxford Woollen Mills and Westport House, the journalists also cycled the Great Western Greenway route and enjoyed a drive on Achill Island. Their itinerary also included a visit to the Céide Fields and a traditional Irish music session in Matt Molloy’s pub in Westport. In Sligo, the journalists enjoyed the Eagles Flying show in Ballymote; visited Yeats’ grave and Drumcliffe church; and paid a visit to The Model arts centre. Their itinerary also included the megalithic tombs at Carrowmore, a bodhrán workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and a visit to the Kilcullen Seaweed Baths in Enniscrone.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Italy, said: “This new Ryanair flight from Milan Bergamo to Ireland West Airport Knock is really great news and will expand travel options for Italian holidaymakers living in and around Milan who wish to visit the west of Ireland this year. Tourism Ireland is working closely with Ryanair, Ireland West Airport Knock and other tourism interests to drive demand for this service from Milan, to help maintain our vital network of routes and services and to grow tourism business from Italy.
“Tourism Ireland is delighted to welcome this group of journalists to Co Mayo and to the west of Ireland. Fact-finding visits like this are very important; they are a really effective way for us to get positive exposure for Ireland through the media in Italy, helping us to showcase what Mayo and Sligo have to offer to a wide audience of potential Italian holidaymakers.”
Shane Maloney, Mount Falcon Hotel, Ballina (centre), welcomes Italian journalists and Ornella Gamacchio, Tourism Ireland (second from left) to the hotel during a recent familiarisation visit.
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.