A group of influential journalists from the Middle East – including a representative of Al Bayan, the leading national Arabic newspaper in Dubai, and Emarat Al Youm, the only Arabic daily tabloid in the UAE – visited Kildare last weekend, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with British Airways.
Given that horse-racing is especially popular in the Middle East, the aim of the journalists’ visit was to showcase the world-class equestrian product on offer in Kildare, as well as some of the many things to see and do here, for feature stories they are planning to write about holidays in Ireland. It was also an excellent opportunity to highlight the ease of access and connectivity between the Middle East and Ireland, with Emirates via Dubai to Dublin.
As well as a tour of the National Stud and Japanese Gardens, the journalists’ itinerary also included a visit to Kildangan Stud and a spot of retail therapy at Kildare Village. During their time here, they also attended the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh.
Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Asia, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring these journalists to Kildare and to Ireland. They were really impressed by the places they visited and in particular by our equestrian product, as well as by the wonderful scenery and the friendliness of the people they met. Fact-finding visits like this are very important, helping us to spread the good news about holidays in Kildare and Ireland through the media in the Gulf States. While we are working hard in the traditional tourism markets like Great Britain and the US, Tourism Ireland is also very active right now in markets like the Middle East, showcasing the island of Ireland as a premier holiday destination. We are highlighting the visa waiver scheme introduced by the Government last year, which encourages visitors from emerging tourism markets to visit Ireland if they are visiting Britain, without the hassle of applying for a separate visa.”
During their time in Ireland, the journalists also attended the Irish Open at Royal Portrush and took in some of the festivities around the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway.
Laoise Molloy, Tourism Ireland (left), with a group of journalists from the Middle East in the Japanese Gardens, including (l-r) Bahij Warda, Azad Iesho, Mustafa Al Sheilby (interpreter), Carmen Ossaily and Osama Al Asmar.
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.