Influential French Group Treated to the ‘Ireland’ Experience
Decision-makers from some of France’s top business tourism companies enjoyed a fact-finding visit to Ireland at the weekend, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and leading Irish destination management company, Event Partners.
The group – which included senior representatives of companies involved in the MICE (meetings, incentive, conferences and events) industry, who organise international conferences, meetings and large-scale incentive events around the world – was here to discover more about the meeting facilities and accommodation on offer in Ireland, as well as the great experiences business delegates can enjoy here on the sidelines of their conference or meeting. The visit was also a fantastic opportunity for Tourism Ireland to raise awareness of The Gathering Ireland 2013 among this influential group.
The French visitors kicked off their action-packed visit in Cork with a tour of UCC, including a stop at the Glucksman Gallery. Afterwards, they took a tour of Cork City Gaol, enjoyed lunch at the Boardwalk Bar & Grill on Lapp’s Quay, paid a visit to the English Market and even tried their hand at some bodhrán-playing at the Clarion Hotel. Then it was on to Kinsale, where they visited Ballinacurra House and enjoyed a cookery demo, followed by a smoked salmon tasting in Actons and a ‘sea safari’ around Kinsale Harbour. Their itinerary also included a visit to the Jameson Whiskey Experience, a spot of lunch at Murphs Tavern in Midleton and some time at Ballymaloe House. They undertook site inspections of various hotels, including the Clarion Hotel, the River Lee Hotel and Fota Island Resort. En route to Dublin Airport, the group visited Killashee House Hotel in Naas, where they undertook a site inspection.
Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Southern Europe, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that these leading business tourism executives had the opportunity to visit Ireland, to experience for themselves some of the superb facilities on offer. Fact-finding visits such as this are an important part of our promotional programme to build awareness of the destination and our world-class business tourism product among key influencers in France.
“Although the major focus of Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to highlight The Gathering Ireland this year is in countries with a strong Diaspora connection – like Britain, the US, Canada and Australia – Tourism Ireland is also working hard in markets like France to highlight Ireland and The Gathering. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, we are also working closely with decision-makers involved in the MICE (meetings, incentive, conferences and events) industry, to enthuse them about the destination and encourage them to include the island of Ireland in their 2013 programmes.”
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. Tourism Ireland’s promotional programme to grow business tourism from France this year includes highlighting the superb meetings, incentive and transport infrastructure on offer here, the ease of access from France to Ireland, as well as the good value rates available for meetings and conferences.