A group of leading travel and lifestyle journalists from Québec enjoyed a fact-finding trip to Roscommon last week, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and leading Canadian tour operator Transat Holidays.
Representing a radio station, a TV station and various online and print publications – including Radio-Canada and magazines like Elle Québec and Tourisme Plus – which will reach thousands of potential holidaymakers throughout the province of Québec, the journalists were here to experience at first-hand some of the many things to see and do in this part of Ireland for travel programmes and feature stories they are researching about holidays here. And, with just under 5 million Canadians claiming Irish ancestral links or affiliations with the island of Ireland, the visit of these journalists was the ideal opportunity to spread the word about the exciting programme of events which is in the pipeline for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. In Québec alone, the census of 2006 showed that over 400,000 in the province identified themselves as being of Irish descent.
One of the highlights of the journalists’ time here was a visit to Strokestown Park House and Gardens in Roscommon. The Famine Museum at Strokestown Park is twinned with Grosse Ile in Quebec as over 5,500 people who emigrated from Ireland during the famine are buried in Grosse Ile. The journalists also visited Co Galway, where they enjoyed an oyster-shucking demo at Kelly Galway Oysters in Kilcolgan and horse trekking in Moycullen; Co Clare, where they visited the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren Smokehouse; and Dublin, where they enjoyed a literary pub crawl.
Jayne Shackleford, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Canada, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to introduce French Canadians to some of the many wonderful attractions of Ireland. The province of Québec is an important market for us in Canada, with over 400,000 francophones claiming ancestral connections with the island of Ireland. Visits such as this are extremely important, helping to spread the word through the media in Québec about the fantastic tourism product showcasing what’s on offer here for French Canadians.
“The visit of these influential journalists was also a valuable opportunity to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and the fantastic programme of events planned for next year. Right now, Tourism Ireland is rolling out a major programme of promotions in North America, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. We are extending an invitation to the tens of millions of people across the world who have ancestral links with Ireland to come home next year, as well as to the many others who feel linked by friendship, business or education and to those who simply hold an affection for what Ireland has given to the world. We are also calling on expatriates and those with an affinity for Ireland to get involved and organise their own ‘Gathering’ events in Ireland next year.”
Journalists from Québec at Strokestown Park, Roscommon, with Ellen Redmond, Fáilte Ireland (left).
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087 6859027
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 will roll out an extensive programme of promotions to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ this autumn, in the United States, GB, Australia and other markets, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.