Middle East Meets West!

25 Mar 2013

A delegation of Irish tourism organisations joined Tourism Ireland’s 2013 sales mission in the Middle East – in a bid to ensure the island of Ireland fully capitalises on this lucrative, emerging tourism market.

The three-day mission, which took in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, involved a series of workshops, presentations and networking events with top travel agents, tour operators and journalists from the GCC countries – providing an invaluable opportunity for the participating Irish companies to showcase their product and do business face-to-face with the influential decision-makers they met.

Although use of the internet for planning and booking holidays is on the increase, travel agents remain extremely important in the Middle East region; so, the principle objective of the sales mission was to build awareness among key travel agents and tour operators of the many things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland and encourage them to include the destination in their future holiday programmes and brochures.

Commenting on the business potential of the sales mission to the Middle East, Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “Tourism missions such as this provide a platform for us, and our Irish tourism partners, to showcase the huge range of things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland and are extremely important in helping us to compete effectively for the growing number of affluent travellers from this market. Ireland is an emerging destination for Middle East travellers and this market could certainly play a part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond.”

2012 was a record year for visitor numbers from Ireland’s long-haul markets. And indications for 2013 are also positive; Etihad’s recent announcement of a +35% increase in capacity on its service from Abu Dhabi to Dublin, in addition to the Emirates service from Dubai, mean that it is easier than ever before to get to Ireland from the Middle East. Also, the visa waiver scheme, introduced by the Government in 2011, is enhancing Ireland’s popularity as a holiday destination for UAE travellers – making it easier for them, and for travellers from other emerging tourism markets, to come to Ireland on holidays.


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.


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