Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar met with tourism industry operators from around the island of Ireland at the ‘Best of Britain and Ireland’ (BoBI) travel trade exhibition, which took place recently at the NEC in Birmingham.
BoBI is the premier, annual event for the travel trade in Britain, attracting over 2,000 influential coach and group tour operators. The two-day showcase provided a valuable opportunity for the participating Irish companies to network and do business face-to-face with decision-makers in the important coach and group travel sector. The objective was to encourage them to introduce Ireland into their programmes or brochures for 2012, or to extend the programmes in which Ireland already features.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said: “I was very pleased to see so many Irish tourism enterprises taking advantage of the great opportunity to promote themselves at the ‘Best of Britain and Ireland’ exhibition, in conjunction with Tourism Ireland. As we push to sustain our recent recovery in the British market, which is so vital to our tourist industry, it is important that the industry gets out there and actively engages with potential customers, particularly the overseas trade.”
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s chief executive, said: “Great Britain is a priority market for Tourism Ireland; our largest and most important tourism market, it accounts for about 45% of all our overseas visitors and 35% of overseas tourism revenue. Tourism Ireland has an extensive promotional campaign in place for GB in 2012, to build on the return to growth we saw in 2011. A key element of our promotions involves enthusing the travel trade in Great Britain – online and traditional travel agents and tour operators – about the island of Ireland, ensuring they promote Ireland to their customers and advise them about the distinctiveness of a holiday here. Tourism Ireland is working hard to highlight Ireland as a fantastic, convenient and great value holiday destination.”
Tourism Ireland has a busy programme of promotions targeting the British travel trade right throughout 2012 – including familiarisation visits to Ireland and workshops for influential group and coach operators, an extensive training programme for up to 1,000 Ireland-specialist travel agents, as well as advertising in selected travel trade press.
Brenda Byrne, Holiday Ireland Hotels; Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland; Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar TD; Liz Fahy, Holiday Ireland Hotels; and Chris Plummer, Leger Holidays (British tour operator), on the Tourism Ireland stand at the recent ‘Best of Britain & Ireland’ exhibition in Birmingham.
Further media information:
Jasmine O’Brien, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 01-476 3425
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.