Ireland was in the spotlight at the annual Ornexpo fair, which took place recently in Alençon, in Normandy in France. With about 200 different exhibitors participating in the six-day fair, there was a special focus on Ireland – as Ireland was the 2012 ‘invité d’honneur’ or ‘guest of honour’.
Ornexpo is one of a series of regional promotions at which Tourism Ireland is exhibiting during 2012; this year’s fair attracted in excess of 30,000 visitors over six days, including thousands of potential holidaymakers from around Normandy looking for ideas and suggestions for their next short break or holiday. Tourism Ireland’s billboard ads ran in the region in advance of the fair and eye-catching posters and banners were on display in the city of Alençon, to encourage local people to come along and find out more about holidays in Ireland.
Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland’s manager for southern Europe, said: “France is Ireland’s fourth largest market and Tourism Ireland has ambitious targets to increase the number of French holidaymakers by +40% over four years. Our strategy is to create a sense of urgency, to inspire French holidaymakers to ‘visit now’. It is easier than ever to get to the island of Ireland from all parts of France and Tourism Ireland is pulling out all the stops to convey the message that it has never been a better time to visit.”
While the island of Ireland holds strong appeal in the French market – with over 400,000 French visitors coming here in 2011 – Tourism Ireland plans to deliver even stronger growth in the coming years.