A group of influential travel agents from Russia enjoyed a fact-finding trip to Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland and leading GB-based inbound tour operator, Camelot Tours. The aim of the visit was to help grow Ireland’s share of the rapidly-growing Russian holiday and business tourism market.
During their time here, the group got to experience at first-hand some of the many things to see and do in Ireland for Russian holidaymakers. Their itinerary included a visit to Malahide Castle and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle, as well as the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle and the Rock of Cashel.
Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core tourism markets of Great Britain, Mainland Europe and North America, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by the BRIC countries. Familiarisation trips such as this are very important, as they enthuse the travel agents and tour operators about Ireland and help them to sell the destination more effectively when they return home.
“Since the visa waiver scheme was introduced by the Government in 2011, there has been an increase in demand by tour operators for Russian visas for Ireland. We believe this market will become increasingly important for the future of the travel and tourism industry generally and will play a greater part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond.”
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 a key objective is to begin building awareness in Russia of the many things to see and do on a holiday here. Tourism Ireland’s programme of activity involves working closely with influential tour operators and travel agents, as well as travel media, to increase exposure and demand for holidays to the island of Ireland; and hosting familiarisation visits for Russian travel agents and tour operators around the island of Ireland.