An Italian group, comprising 11 influential travel agents and the sales team of leading tour operator Vela Tours, enjoyed a four-day fact-finding visit to Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. They were here to check out some of the many things to see and do in Ireland and to find out what’s in store for Italian holidaymakers during this special year of The Gathering Ireland.
The group kicked off their visit with a site inspection and lunch at Barberstown Castle in Co Kildare. Then it was on to the west of Ireland, including Galway and Clare. They visited the Burren Centre in Kilfenora and the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. Their itinerary also included site inspections of Gregans Castle Hotel near Ballyvaughan and Doonagore Farmhouse B&B in Doolin, as well as an evening at the medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. They stopped in the picturesque village of Adare before an overnight stay in Clontarf Castle in Dublin.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Italy, said: “We are delighted that this group have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our wonderful scenery, the many things to see and do here, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, as they help tour operators and travel agents get to know what we have to offer potential Italian holidaymakers; the aim is to enthuse them about the destination so that when they return to Italy, they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans.
“This visit was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight The Gathering Ireland 2013 and the fantastic programme of events taking place here this year. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions in Italy, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight The Gathering. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is working closely with influential tour operators, so that they will encourage their clients to come here this year to enjoy some of the many festivals and events which are happening as part of The Gathering.”