Sales mission targets Middle Eastern visitors for Ireland
A delegation of Irish tourism organisations joined Tourism Ireland’s 2013 sales mission in the Middle East – in a bid to ensure the island of Ireland fully capitalises on this lucrative, emerging tourism market.
The three-day mission, which took in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, involved a series of workshops, presentations and networking events with top travel agents, tour operators and journalists from the GCC countries – providing an invaluable opportunity for the participating Irish companies to showcase their product and do business face-to-face with the influential decision-makers they met.
Although use of the internet for planning and booking holidays is on the increase, travel agents remain extremely important in the Middle East region; so, the principle objective of the sales mission was to build awareness among key travel agents and tour operators of the many things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland and encourage them to include the destination in their future holiday programmes and brochures.
Commenting on the business potential of the sales mission to the Middle East, Jim Paul, Tourism Ireland’s head of Australia and developing markets, said: “Tourism missions such as this provide a platform for us, and our Irish tourism partners, to showcase the huge range of things to see and do on a holiday in Ireland and are extremely important in helping us to compete effectively for the growing number of affluent travellers from this market. Ireland is an emerging destination for Middle East travellers and this market could certainly play a part in helping us to grow tourism from overseas in 2013 and beyond.”
2012 was a record year for visitor numbers from Ireland’s long-haul markets. And indications for 2013 are also positive; Etihad’s recent announcement of a +35% increase in capacity on its service from Abu Dhabi to Dublin, in addition to the Emirates service from Dubai, mean that it is easier than ever before to get to Ireland from the Middle East. Also, the visa waiver scheme, introduced by the Government in 2011, is enhancing Ireland’s popularity as a holiday destination for UAE travellers – making it easier for them, and for travellers from other emerging tourism markets, to come to Ireland on holidays.