Twenty-five influential travel agents from Rome and Milan were in Athlone and Ireland’s Lakelands Region last week on a fact-finding trip. Their visit was the grand finale of IRE-LOVERS, Tourism Ireland’s online training programme for Italian travel agents, on selling holidays to the island of Ireland. Each year, the top travel agents are selected to visit the island of Ireland once they complete their training. Invited here by Tourism Ireland in Milan, their itinerary was put together by Fáilte Ireland.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland Italy, said: “As a reward for completing their training on selling the island of Ireland, these travel agents had the opportunity to experience the Lakelands tourism product at first-hand. Visits such as this are extremely important as they help the travel agents to know exactly what Athlone and the Lakelands Region have to offer potential Italian holidaymakers; our aim is that when they return home they are better equipped to advise their clients when planning and booking their holidays.”
“Italy is an important market for tourism and last year we welcomed 234,000 Italian visitors to the island of Ireland. We have a strong promotional programme in place in Italy for the remainder of 2009 and into 2010, highlighting the island of Ireland as a fantastic holiday destination. It is absolutely essential that we convey the message that there has never been a better time for Italians to visit the island of Ireland.”
The IRE-LOVERS training programme consists of seven modules about the island of Ireland tourism product; including Dublin, other cities, Fly & Drive, accommodation, coach tours, activity products and general information. The annual fact-finding trip, which is offered as a reward to the top 25 travel agents nominated as VIPs (Very Irish People), has been running for five years and this year the programme focused on Ireland’s Lakelands Region for the first time.
Italian travel agents at Glasson Golf Hotel with Mary O’Connor (front left) and Niamh Kinsella (behind - 3rd from left), Tourism Ireland Italy.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
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