A group of leading GB-based inbound tour operators visited Co Wicklow last week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. The group included decision-makers from major travel companies involved in the very lucrative MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Events) sector.
The tour operators were here on a fact-finding visit – to help grow Ireland’s share of the huge, worldwide business tourism market, with a particular focus on increasing business from new and emerging markets like the Middle East, Russia, China and India. The companies represented on this trip are all members of UKinbound – an association of leading inbound tour operators who put in place the arrangements for business travellers to GB and the island of Ireland from all over the world.
One of the highlights of the tour operators’ time here was a visit to The Orchard Centre near Tinahely in Co Wicklow, where they took part in team-building activities. In Dublin, the group undertook site inspections of a number of hotels, including The Shelbourne, Four Seasons and The Merrion. They also visited the Guinness Storehouse and the Old Jameson Distillery and enjoyed a fun “meet the city” treasure hunt.
Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core markets of Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by new and emerging markets. It is therefore essential that influential tour operators working in these markets get to experience Wicklow and Ireland at first-hand and the high standard of the tourism product on offer here, including our world-class conference and meeting facilities.”
Business tourism is the most lucrative form of tourism, with visitors travelling here for business purposes spending about 2.5 times more than the average visitor.