A group of influential French travel writers visited Galway and Clare, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Aer Lingus and leading Irish incoming tour operator Álainn Tours. Representing five different publications with a combined circulation of almost 500,000, their packed schedule saw them visit Galway city, Connemara and Inis Mór, as well as Doolin, Lisdoonvarna and the Burren.
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 over 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.
Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Southern Europe, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring these journalists to the west of Ireland. They were extremely impressed by the spectacular scenery of Connemara and the Burren, the range of things to see and do in this part of Ireland, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Fact-finding visits like this are an important element of our promotional programme in France; they are a really effective way for us to get positive exposure for Ireland through the media, helping us to showcase our superb tourism product to hundreds of thousands of potential holidaymakers around France.''
France is an important market for tourism to the island of Ireland and the most recent figures from the CSO (for the period February to April) show a strong start to 2013, with visitor numbers up +20%, compared to the same period in 2012. With the extensive programme of festivals and events taking place across the island this year, as part of The Gathering and Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture, Tourism Ireland’s message is that there has never been a better time to visit.