Three leading journalists from the Middle East – including Mabrouka Ghanmi, the only Arabic female sports journalist in the UAE – visited Kildare and Dublin last weekend, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Etihad Airways.
Given that both golf and horse-racing are particularly popular in the Middle East, the aim of the journalists’ visit was to showcase the world-class golf and equestrian product on offer in Kildare, as well as some of the many other things to see and do here, for feature stories they are planning to write. Their visit was also an excellent opportunity to highlight the ease of access from the Middle East to Ireland, with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Dublin.
As well as attending the Irish Open at Carton House, the journalists spent time enjoying the atmosphere at the Dubai Duty Free Derby at The Curragh. Their itinerary also included a site inspection of the K Club and a spot of ‘retail therapy’ at Kildare Village. In Dublin, they enjoyed the Etihad Skyline Rooftop Tour in Croke Park and sampled the “Art Tea” at the Merrion Hotel.
Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Asia, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these journalists to visit Ireland. They were really impressed by the places they visited and in particular by our superb golf and equestrian product, as well as by the wonderful scenery and the friendliness of the people they met. Fact-finding visits like this are very important, helping us to spread the good news about holidays in Ireland through the media in the Gulf States.
“While we are working hard to promote the island of Ireland in the traditional tourism markets like Great Britain and the US, Tourism Ireland is also very active right now in markets like the Middle East, showcasing the island of Ireland as a premier holiday destination. We are highlighting the visa waiver scheme introduced by the Irish Government in 2011, which encourages visitors from emerging tourism markets to visit Ireland if they are visiting Britain, without the hassle of applying for a separate visa.”
Tourism Ireland undertakes a busy publicity programme around the world each year to raise the profile of the destination – and media visits to Ireland are a key element of that programme. In 2012, there were more than 1,400 media visits to the island of Ireland, which helped to generate articles and broadcasts around the globe worth about €50 million in equivalent advertising value.