Tourism Ireland, in partnership with Shannon Development, welcomed over 100 German travel agents to the Shannon Region this weekend. The agents, who all work for leading German tour operator Wolters Reisen (part of the massive TUI travel group) were here on an extensive Irish training programme and familiarisation visit.
The programme, called Wikinger-Treffen (Steps of the Vikings), was an excellent opportunity to showcase the Shannon Region to a very important market. Tourism Ireland in Germany won this prestigious event amid stiff competition from other destinations, including Britain, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The four-day programme included briefings by Tourism Ireland and Shannon Development on the excellent tourism products in this region and what Ireland generally can offer potential Germany holidaymakers; it also included business-to-business workshop sessions, where members of the local tourism industry had an opportunity to meet with the travel agents.
The agents also had a chance to get out and about and sample some of what the Shannon Region has to offer, including the wonderful scenery on the West Clare Tour and a fun treasure hunt of Limerick on the Da Vinci Experience tour. They enjoyed some local hospitality at a traditional Irish night in the Bunratty Castle Hotel and at the medieval banquet at Knappogue Castle. Their Irish visit will end with a sumptuous Viking Feast in Dublin, hosted by Dublin Tourism.
Siobhán McManamy, Tourism Ireland Germany, said: “It is a tremendous honour for Ireland to have been chosen for the Wolters Reisen annual training programme. It presents us with an excellent platform to showcase the Shannon Region as a premier holiday destination to these influential travel agents, so that they can spread the good news and sell more effectively when they return home - and entice even greater numbers of German visitors to come and holiday here.
“Germany is a very important market for tourism to the island of Ireland. Last year we welcomed 464,000 German visitors.”
John King, Heritage & Tourism Director, Shannon Development, said: “Germany is the top-performing European Market into the Shannon Region in terms of visitor numbers and is hugely important to the Region, generating economic benefits for a range of businesses. We are delighted to have played our part in ensuring the success of the visit of the prestigious Wolters Reisen travel agents group. Their visit could not have come at a better time, with the launch this month of the new Ryanair service from Frankfurt-Hahn to Shannon Airport. This new route, combined with the existing Ryanair services from Düsseldorf and Berlin, will be a tremendous asset in attracting additional Germany holidaymakers to this area in 2009.”
Looking out over Limerick from the Strand Hotel before the briefing for the German travel agents are (l-r) Pat Daly, Shannon Development; Thies Rheinsberg, TUI Wolters Reisen; Siobhán McManamy, Tourism Ireland Germany; Kathrin Buttelmann, TUI Wolters Reisen; Úna Kelly and John King, Shannon Development
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland, tel: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Norman Pratt, Weber Shandwick, tel: 01 676 0168/ 086 151 8921