Six tourism operators from around the island of Ireland travelled to London to join Tourism Ireland for ‘Excursions’, an annual group travel show which attracts over 1,000 influential coach and group tour operators from around Great Britain.
Visitors to the show included coach tour operators and group travel organisers representing all types of clubs and associations around GB – who are responsible for putting in place arrangements for holidays and excursions overseas for groups. The one-day show provided an ideal opportunity for the participating Irish companies to network and do business face-to-face with decision-makers from the important coach and group travel sector; the objective was to encourage them to introduce the island of Ireland to their programmes or brochures for 2013, or to extend the programmes in which Ireland already features. ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’, and the many festivals and events taking place here in 2013, was a major focus at this year’s Excursions.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Great Britain is our largest and most important tourism market, delivering almost half of all our total overseas visitors. Tourism Ireland is rolling out the new ‘GB Path to Growth’ strategy, which aims to return this all-important market to sustained growth. We are targeting new groups that are receptive to the type of experience the island of Ireland can offer and raising awareness of the many things to see and do here – underpinned by a strong value message.
“Our presence at this year’s Excursions was also a fantastic opportunity to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is also working closely with influential travel agents and tour operators, so that they will encourage their clients to come here this year to enjoy the many festivals and events of ‘The Gathering’.”
Tourism Ireland’s new strategy in GB this year – called ‘GB Path to Growth’ – will see the number of British visitors to the island of Ireland increase by +20% i.e. an additional 200,000 holiday visitors per year by 2016.