Tourism Ireland and a number of Irish tourism representatives are in Russia this week for a travel trade mission in Moscow and St Petersburg, targeting the Russian holiday and business tourism market.
The trade mission, which kicks off today, involves meetings with travel agents and tour operators from the main regions of Russia, as well as other Russian-speaking CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; the Tourism Ireland delegation will be encouraging those influential tour operators and travel agents to include the island of Ireland in future holiday programmes.
As one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, the Russian economy is growing fast and travel is showing similar growth, with over 24 million people travelling outside of Russia each year. Tourism Ireland research has shown that the Russian market has limited understanding of what the island of Ireland has to offer as a holiday destination; so, one of the main objectives of this week’s mission is to begin building awareness in Russia of the many things to see and do on a holiday here.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Research shows that some of the main motivators for Russians when choosing a holiday include ‘natural scenic beauty’ and ‘history and culture’; these are two areas for which the island of Ireland is renowned. This week’s mission will see us step up our promotional efforts in the market to grow our share of Russian tourism business to western Europe and boost awareness of Ireland among Russia’s growing middle classes who have the potential to come here on holidays.
“In 2010, Russian tourism business to the UK increased by +23% and since the Visa Waiver Scheme was introduced here by the Government in May of last year, there has been a noted increase by tour operators in demand for Russian visas for Ireland. This market could play a part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2012 and beyond.”
The programme for the travel trade mission to Russia includes one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments with tour operators and travel agents; sales calls to companies in Moscow and St Petersburg; as well as evening networking receptions.