A group of influential American tour operators visited the island of Ireland recently. They followed an action-packed itinerary, which took in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Belfast and Dublin.
These tour operators are responsible for making the travel arrangements for a range of large groups across the United States – including choral, pilgrimage, Christian heritage and educational groups. Their fact-finding visit was a fantastic opportunity to showcase what the island of Ireland has to offer such groups. Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland in New York, the itinerary for the tour operators was designed by Fáilte Ireland and NITB.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these group tour organisers to visit the island of Ireland. We believe it is extremely important for decision-makers such as these to experience for themselves the high standard of the tourism product and the many things to see and do in Ireland, so they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans.
“North America is an extremely important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and 2013 is shaping up to be a record year – with the latest CSO figures, to the end of September, showing North American visitor numbers up +14.6% on the same nine-month period last year. Since last year, the Gathering has been a focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotions, to make Ireland a ‘must visit’ choice for a holiday in 2013, for both the Diaspora and non-Diaspora around the US.”
American group tour operators during their fact-finding visit to Ireland, with Ellen Redmond, Fáilte Ireland (left).
Brian Swift, 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 2012, 7.4 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 undertaken an extensive programme of promotions to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013 around the world, working closely with the Gathering project team.