A group of leading travel agents from Canada visited Clare and Limerick last weekend, as guests of Tourism Ireland and leading Canadian tour operator Transat Holidays. Arrangements for their itinerary were put in place by Fáilte Ireland and Shannon Development.
The travel agents – all involved in group travel business – were here to check out some of the many things to see and do in this part of Ireland and to find out about what’s in store for Canadian holidaymakers during the special year of the Gathering. Their visit began with a walking tour of Limerick, led by local tour guide Noel Curtin, followed by some time in the Limerick Milk Market, where they got to sample some of the fresh, natural produce on offer. They continued to Dromoland Castle, where they undertook a site inspection of the hotel, before enjoying a falconry demonstration followed by afternoon tea. Their itinerary also included the medieval banquet at Bunratty, an evening of traditional Irish music at Durty Nelly’s and an overnight stay at Bunratty Castle Hotel. The travel agents also visited Co Kerry, including the Dingle Peninsula, and Co Cork, including the English Market and Blarney Castle.
During their time here, the travel agents also attended a B2B workshop with Irish tourism providers in Killarney, where they heard all about the exciting programme of events being planned for the Gathering. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland around Canada, Tourism Ireland is also working closely with influential travel agents, so that they will encourage their clients to come here next year to enjoy the festivals and events of the Gathering.
Jayne Shackleford, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Canada, said: “We are delighted that these influential travel agents have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit the Shannon region. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, as the travel agents get to experience at first-hand the wealth of things to see and do here for Canadian holidaymakers. Our aim is that when they return to Canada they are better equipped to advise their clients about the Shannon region and Ireland when planning and booking their holidays.
“The agents’ visit was also a valuable opportunity to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ and the fantastic programme of events planned for next year. This autumn, Tourism Ireland is undertaking a major programme of promotions in North America, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight the Gathering. We are extending an invitation to the tens of millions of people across the world who have ancestral links with Ireland to come home next year, as well as to the many others who feel linked by friendship, business or education and to those who simply hold an affection for what Ireland has given to the world. We are also calling on expatriates and those with an affinity for Ireland to get involved and organise their own ‘Gathering’ events in Ireland next year.”