On the back of one of the most difficult years for tourism to the island of Ireland, enterprises from across the island North and South are joining forces with Tourism Ireland at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week, heralding the start of the promotional drive for the 2010 season.
Now in its 30th year, WTM is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar year, with over 50,000 industry representatives and 2,500 international media in attendance. This year, over 60 Irish tourism enterprises including hotels, ferry companies, tour operators, visitor attractions, golf courses, spas, hostels, car hire companies and so on, are exhibiting at the Tourism Ireland stand, which provides an invaluable platform for them to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2010.
With over 200 countries all vying for business at the World Travel Market in London this week, Tourism Ireland is aiming to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the influential global media and travel trade in attendance with an Irish ‘spectacular’. The lunchtime event includes a performance by Riverdance, Irish storytellers, live traditional music, the best of Irish food, with MC Patrick Kielty. “We are using this event to showcase our strengths – our culture, heritage, literature, music, food and our warm, friendly people – all wrapped in a message that the island of Ireland has never offered better quality and value for money. We are telling the world that the island of Ireland is very much open for business, is easily accessible by air and sea and, despite the downturn, we have a wealth of impressive new developments coming on stream – including the Convention Centre Dublin, Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, the Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road and the Titanic building in Belfast,” said Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland.
“The first ten months of 2009 have proven to be a very tough period for tourism to the island of Ireland, and for tourism worldwide; as the global economy deteriorated, consumers tightened their belts, travelled less and spent less. Although much uncertainty persists, there is some evidence that consumer confidence is beginning to improve, albeit slowly. By year end, we anticipate close to 8 million people will have visited the island of Ireland from overseas, generating approximately €3.6 bn in revenue. While these figures represent a decline, they also represent a solid foundation to build upon next year. Our global website www.discoverireland.com received a record 9.6 million visits in the first nine months of this year, which is most encouraging and illustrates a continued strong interest in the island of Ireland, despite the challenging environment. Our aim now is to capitalise on this interest, close the sale and restore growth in 2010,” said Niall Gibbons.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
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