Twelve top travel agents from Canada visited Ireland recently, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with Air Canada.
The agents – all representatives of top-producing Canadian travel companies like Merit Travel, Vision 2000, Carlson Wagonlit, Flight Centre and Thomas Cook – were here on a fact-finding trip to Ireland, prior to attending a B2B workshop with over 120 tourism providers from across the island in Kilkenny, where they heard about the exciting programme of events which is in the pipeline 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.
During their time here, the travel agents visited the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare and then travelled by ferry to Inis Mór, where they paid a visit to Dún Aengus and enjoyed an evening of traditional Irish music at Tí Joe Watty’s. As well as a visit to Kylemore Abbey and Gardens in Co Galway, the travel agents enjoyed a tour of the Connemara Heritage and History Centre. They stopped at Clonmacnoise and also travelled to Waterford, where they enjoyed a walking tour of the city with local guide Jack Burtchaell and a guided tour at the House of Waterford Crystal, before finishing their time here in Dublin.
Jayne Shackleford, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Canada, said: “We are delighted that so many of these influential travel agents took the time out of their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. 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 Ireland when planning and booking their holidays.
“The agents’ visit was also a valuable opportunity to highlight the Gathering and the fantastic programme of events planned for next year. This autumn, Tourism Ireland will roll out 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.”