A Finnish group, comprising travel agents and sales consultants with leading tour operators, enjoyed a fact-finding visit to Kilkenny over the weekend, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. They flew into Dublin Airport on the brand new Norwegian Airlines flight from Helsinki, to check out some of the many things to see and do in this part of Ireland and to find out what’s in store for Finnish holidaymakers during this special year of The Gathering Ireland.
As well as a guided tour of Kilkenny Castle, the group enjoyed a spot of lunch at the Design Centre and spent time discovering other local attractions, including Rothe House and St Canice’s Cathedral. Their itinerary also included dinner and an evening of traditional Irish music at Kyteler’s Inn. They stayed at the Pembroke Hotel on Patrick Street.
Caroline Brunel, Tourism Ireland’s manager in the Nordic Region, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that this group have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Kilkenny and Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our rich heritage and wonderful scenery, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, as they help tour operators and travel agents to get to know what we have to offer potential Finnish holidaymakers; the aim is to enthuse them about the destination so that when they return to Finland, they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans.
“This visit was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight The Gathering and the fantastic programme of events taking place here this year. Although the major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to highlight The Gathering this year is in countries with a strong Diaspora connection – like Britain, the US, Canada and Australia – Tourism Ireland is also working hard in markets like the Nordic region to highlight Ireland and The Gathering. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is working closely with influential travel agents and tour operators, so that they will encourage their clients to come here this year to enjoy some of the many festivals and events of The Gathering.”
Mainland Europe – including the Nordic region – is an increasingly important market for Irish tourism and in 2013 Tourism Ireland aims to welcome almost 2.5 million European visitors.
Finnish travel agents outside Kyteler’s Inn in Kilkenny, with tour guide Catherine Phelan (third right) and Camilla Karlsson, Norwegian Airlines (fourth 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 2012, an estimated 7.27 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.51 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ is Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative, consisting of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country; Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.