Fifteen top travel agents from around Italy enjoyed an action-packed trip to Ireland over the weekend. Their fact-finding visit was the grand finale of Tourism Ireland’s Irlanda online training programme, specially designed to help Italian travel agents sell holidays to the island of Ireland.
The itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, included a tour of Cork city – taking in places like of St Anne’s Church, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, the Lifetime Lab, as well as Cork City Gaol and the Cork Butter Museum. They visited West Cork, including Heir Island and the Fire House Bread & Bakery School; and Kinsale, where they took a boat trip around the harbour. They also spent time in Kilkenny, where they enjoyed a tour of Kilkenny Castle and a bodhrán demonstration at Kyteler’s Inn.
The visit was also an excellent opportunity for Tourism Ireland to introduce the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ to the Italian travel agents – Ireland’s first long-distance touring route stretching all the way from Donegal to Cork. The route will comprise a central spine, together with a series of loops and spurs off it, to encourage people to explore all that the west coast has to offer.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s Manager in Italy, said: “As a reward for excelling in their training on selling the island of Ireland, this group of travel agents got to visit some of the most popular visitor attractions in Cork and Kilkenny. Familiarisation trips such as this are vital, as influential travel agents get to experience at first-hand the superb tourism product on offer in Ireland; our aim is that when they return home to Italy, the travel agents will be better equipped to advise their clients when planning and booking their holidays.”
Now in its ninth year, Tourism Ireland’s Irlanda training programme consists of different modules, with 40 questions about the island of Ireland tourism product; these include cities, fly and drive holidays, accommodation, coach tours, activity products and general information.
Italian travel agents with Siobhán Wright, Tourism Ireland (second right), getting ready to enjoy a boat trip around Kinsale Harbour.
Further media information:
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, 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.