Tourism operators from around Ireland travelled to Great Britain to join Tourism Ireland at the ‘Best of Britain and Ireland’ (BoBI) travel trade exhibition, which took place at the NEC in Birmingham.
BoBI is the premier, annual event for the travel trade in Britain, attracting over 2,000 influential coach tour operators, group travel organisers and educational travel organisers. The two-day showcase provided a valuable opportunity for the participating Irish companies to network and do business face-to-face with key GB decision-makers. The objective was to encourage them to introduce Ireland into 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 this year, was a major focus for Tourism Ireland at this year’s BoBI.
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 BoBI 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 intermediaries like influential tour operators, to enthuse them about the destination, so that they will encourage their clients to come here this year to enjoy the many festivals and events of The Gathering.”
Tourism Ireland has a busy programme of promotions targeting the British travel trade right throughout 2013 – including familiarisation visits to Ireland and workshops for influential group and coach operators, an extensive training programme for up to 1,000 Ireland-specialist travel agents, as well as advertising in selected travel trade press.