An Italian group, comprising 11 influential travel agents and the sales team of leading tour operator Vela Tours, enjoyed a four-day fact-finding visit to Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. They were here to check out some of the many things to see and do in Ireland and to find out what’s in store for Italian holidaymakers during this special year of The Gathering Ireland.
The group kicked off their visit with a site inspection and lunch at Barberstown Castle in Co Kildare. Then it was on to the west of Ireland, including Galway and Clare. They visited the Burren Centre in Kilfenora and the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. Their itinerary also included site inspections of Gregans Castle Hotel near Ballyvaughan and Doonagore Farmhouse B&B in Doolin, as well as an evening at the medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. They stopped in the picturesque village of Adare before an overnight stay in Clontarf Castle in Dublin.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Italy, said: “We are delighted that this group have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our wonderful scenery, the many things to see and do here, 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 get to know what we have to offer potential Italian holidaymakers; the aim is to enthuse them about the destination so that when they return to Italy, they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans.
“This visit was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013 and the fantastic programme of events taking place here this year. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions in Italy, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight The Gathering. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is working closely with influential tour operators, so that they will encourage their clients to come here this year to enjoy some of the many festivals and events which are happening as part of The Gathering.”
Italian travel agents outside The Burren Centre in Kilfenora, Co Clare, with Siobhán Wright, Tourism Ireland (right); Frances Connole, manager of The Burren Centre (second right); and tour guide Cecilia Bullo (third right).
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 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.