A group of top travel agents from 17 different states across the United States is visiting Ireland this week – as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with American Airlines and Aer Lingus. Many of the travel agents – all representatives of top-producing American travel companies like Ensemble, Virtuoso, Signature Vacations and American Express – took part in a fact-finding trip, in advance of attending a B2B workshop at Carton House in Maynooth with about 80 tourism providers from across the island of Ireland.
Their packed itinerary included the Shannon Region, with visits to Bunratty Castle, King John’s Castle, the Hunt Museum and Adare. They also took in Muckross Park and the Killarney National Park, the Jameson Experience in Midleton, the Rock of Cashel and an orientation tour of Dublin.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “We are delighted that so many of these influential travel agents took the time out of their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, as the travel agents get to experience at first-hand the wealth of things to see and do here for American holidaymakers. Our aim is to enthuse them about the destination and ensure that when they return home they are better equipped to advise their clients about Ireland when planning and booking their holidays.
“The US is a very important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and Tourism Ireland believes that we are on course to achieve our best year ever from the United States – even surpassing the previous best year of 2007; this year, we will welcome over one million American visitors, spending about US$1 billion. Our fall campaign is now in full swing in the United States – we have a really extensive programme in place between now and the end of the year, showcasing the island of Ireland and targeting late-season travellers.”
According to the latest CSO figures, visitor numbers from North America are up +16.5% year to date (to end of August); and + 20% for the peak summer months of June to August.
American travel agents in the drawing room at No. 1 Pery Square, Limerick, with Hillarie McGuinness, Tourism Ireland (left); Ellen Redmond, Fáilte Ireland (second left); and tour guide Ally Carr (front).
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, 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.