Tourism Ireland and Irish tourism operators are in Russia this week for a travel trade mission in Moscow and St Petersburg – in a bid to grow Ireland’s share of this rapidly-growing tourism market.
The trade mission, which kicks off today, involves meetings and sales calls with top travel agents and tour operators from the main regions of Russia, as well as other Russian-speaking CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; the Tourism Ireland delegation will be encouraging those influential tour operators and travel agents to include the island of Ireland in future holiday programmes.
As one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries, the Russian economy is growing fast and travel is showing similar growth, with over 24 million people travelling outside of Russia each year. Tourism Ireland research has shown that the Russian market has limited understanding of what the island of Ireland has to offer as a holiday destination; so, one of the main objectives of this week’s mission is to begin building awareness in Russia of the many things to see and do on a holiday here.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Research shows that some of the main motivators for Russians when choosing a holiday include ‘natural scenic beauty’ and ‘history and culture’; these are two areas for which the island of Ireland is renowned. This week’s mission will see us step up our promotional efforts in the market to grow our share of Russian tourism business to Western Europe and boost awareness of the island of Ireland among Russia’s growing middle classes who have the potential to come here on holidays.
“In 2010, Russian tourism business to the UK increased by +23% and since the visa waiver scheme was introduced here by the Government in 2011, there has been a noted increase in demand from Russian tour operators for visas for Ireland. This market could play a part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond.”
The programme for this week’s trade mission to Russia, organised in association with VisitBritain, includes one-to-one meetings with tour operators and travel agents, sales calls to travel companies in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as evening networking receptions.