Tourism organisations from around the island of Ireland travelled to Milan last week, to join Tourism Ireland for BIT 2013, the largest annual travel fair in Italy.
BIT (Borsa Internazionale del Turismo) is the largest trade and consumer travel show in Italy, attracting over 100,000 visitors – including the top travel journalists, tour operators, travel agents, EFL (English as a Foreign Language) providers and business tourism buyers, as well as many thousands of Italian holidaymakers looking for ideas and suggestions for their next short break or holiday destination. The four-day event provided a really valuable opportunity for the participating Irish companies to showcase their product, do business with Italian travel decision-makers and to communicate what is unique about the island of Ireland as a holiday destination. The Gathering Ireland 2013, Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture, and the many other festivals and events taking place here this year, were a major focus for Tourism Ireland at this year’s BIT.
Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Italy, said: “Tourism Ireland in Italy has a busy programme of promotional activity planned for 2013, to capitalise on the strong interest here in the island of Ireland and to build on the growth in Italian visitors to Ireland in 2012. BIT is our first major promotion of 2013, providing an excellent opportunity to spread the word about all the great things to see and do on the island of Ireland and in particular to raise awareness about the exciting programme of events taking place throughout the year for The Gathering Ireland and Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture. Working closely with our tourism partners, we are highlighting the distinctiveness of a holiday on the island of Ireland, the great value available and the ease of access from Italy. Our message for Italian holidaymakers is that there has never been a better time to visit.”
The Italian market performed extremely well in 2012, with around 252,000 Italians visiting Ireland, an increase of +14% on 2011.