A Tourism Ireland sales mission to India kicks off in Mumbai today. A delegation of Irish tourism enterprises is taking part in the four-day travel trade mission this week – in a bid to grow Ireland’s share of this rapidly-growing tourism market.
Throughout the week, the Irish companies – including hoteliers, visitor attractions, airlines and destination management companies (DMCs) – will meet and conclude deals with more than 300 top Indian tour operators and travel agents, through a series of workshops, sales calls and networking events in the cities of Mumbai and Delhi.
Tourism Ireland aims to capitalise on the fact that India is now one of the fastest-growing tourist-generating countries in the world and grow the number of Indian tourists to the island of Ireland from the current estimated 21,000 per year. India is expected to reach 50 million outbound travellers by 2020.
Although use of the internet for planning and booking holidays is on the increase, travel agents remain extremely important in India; so, the principle objective of this week’s sales mission is to build awareness among the Indian travel agents and tour operators about the many things to see and do in Ireland and to encourage them to include the destination in their future travel programmes and brochures.
Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said: “India is an important emerging market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. With a rapidly-growing middle class and rising disposable incomes, the number of Indian people travelling overseas has grown by about +12% over the past six years; and forecasts for the coming years suggest an even greater rise. While visitor numbers from India are small, when compared to our established tourism markets, it is important to remember that visitors from India spend more than the average visitor and typically stay longer than visitors from closer-to-home markets."
2013 was a record year for visitor numbers from Ireland’s longer-haul markets; and the outlook for 2014 is also positive. Factors in our favour include increased access to Ireland, particularly increased flights for 2014 by Etihad and Emirates via the Middle East; as well as the Visa Waiver Scheme, which makes it easier for tourists from emerging tourism markets like India who are visiting Britain to also visit Ireland, without the cost or hassle of applying for a separate visa.
With offices in Mumbai and Delhi, Tourism Ireland’s programme of promotions in India involves co-operative activity with influential intermediaries such as airlines and tour operators, to ensure Ireland features prominently in their itineraries and travel brochures; familiarisation visits for travel agents and tour operators around the island of Ireland; as well as working closely with travel and lifestyle journalists, to ensure they write or broadcast extensively about the island of Ireland.
Jyot Jhaveri, Sunday Pure Holidays; Beena Menon and Amanda Burns, both Tourism Ireland; Rosita Haribal, Travel Forte; Áine O’Keefe, Ovation (destination management company); Brian Lynch, Suirway Bus and Coach Services; and Vinayak Laud, Vinayak Holidays, in Mumbai during Tourism Ireland’s sales mission to India.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087-685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• The target geographies for Tourism Ireland in India for 2014 are primarily Mumbai and Delhi; with other cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Kolkata growing in importance.
• Promotions are targeting long-haul leisure travellers, including families; niche markets like honeymooners and golfers; as well as the increasingly important business travel and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector.
• Messages are communicated to potential holidaymakers through Indian travel agents and tour operators, the influential travel media and through digital promotions, including social media (India is the fastest growing online market in the world, with 150 million internet users last year; India also has the third-largest Facebook population, with approximately 60.5 million users).
• Building on the massive success of Bollywood film Ek Tha Tiger, shot on location in Dublin, Tourism Ireland is also highlighting an Ek Tha Tiger trail of Dublin; and continuse to work with the Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen, targeting top Bollywood producers and producers and highlighting the many stunning locations right around the island of Ireland.