Hundreds of top travel professionals from around Germany and Austria arrived in Killarney today, to attend a high profile international conference.
Over the coming two weeks, 700 of Germany’s top-performing travel agents and 200 other tourism industry professionals and influential travel media will attend the annual Reiseakademie (Travel Academy) of top German tour operator, DERTOUR.
In November of last year, Tourism Ireland in Frankfurt secured this prestigious conference for Ireland. Rival bids were made by Orlando, Mexico City, Las Vegas, Oporto and Shanghai – but the quality of the tourism product in Killarney and around the island of Ireland, and the Tourism Ireland bid supported by an excellent presentation by the tourism industry in Killarney, won the event for the south-west and for Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: "It is a tremendous honour for Killarney to have won this prestigious event in the face of considerable overseas competition. Tourism Ireland is delighted to have played its part in securing this global event, which confirms Killarney as a world-class business and conference destination and will help to substantially increase the number of German and Austrian holidaymakers to the south-west in years to come.
“Hosting the DERTOUR Travel Academy allows us to showcase the south-west as a tourist destination of choice for German and Austrian visitors; Killarney has a wealth of things to do and see and the standard of the tourism product here is extremely high.
“It is really important for an influential group like this to experience the exceptional beauty of Killarney and the south-west for themselves. During their time here, they will participate in interactive workshops and daily sightseeing excursions. With this practical knowledge and first-hand experience of Killarney and Ireland, they will be in a better position to develop attractive holiday packages and advise future clients effectively to consider Killarney and Ireland for their holiday destination.”
As well as generating valuable off-season business giving the local economy a significant boost during a traditionally quiet time of the season, the DERTOUR Travel Academy has a history of significantly increasing visitors to the host destination; last time this event took place here, business from DERTOUR to the island of Ireland increased by +34% the following year.
The DERTOUR Reiseakademie is Germany’s most prestigious travel trade training event and is organised annually. DERTOUR is the leading tour operator to Ireland from Mainland Europe, bringing 40,000 visitors here annually on a range of holidays from coach tours to individual holidays; city breaks to specialist activity breaks.
Kevin Keogh, Vice President Marketing & Sales with DerTour, said: “The DERTOUR Travel Academy offers a unique opportunity to show the top-selling travel agents from Germany and Austria exactly what the island of Ireland has to offer their customers. We hope that everybody working in tourism, and indeed in Ireland generally, who meets these travel agents during their time here, will show them what a great country Ireland is.”
The Reiseakademie will be held over two weeks in Killarney (15th–21st November and 22nd–28th November) with 450 guests enjoying an identical programme each week. Over the two weeks the agents will experience the very best of what Kerry has to offer including a day of activities in Killarney National Park; a Ring of Kerry Tour; themed dinners each evening; a treasure trail around Killarney and plenty of opportunities to experience the best of Kerry hospitality.
At the opening ceremony of the 2009 DERTOUR Reiseakademie in Killarney are (l-r) Kevin Keogh, DERTOUR; Niamh O’Shea, Killarney Park Hotel; Hugh Friel, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; and Enda Corneille, Aer Lingus.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
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