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07 Mar 2013

The return of the Vikings – this time they’re invited!

Tourism Ireland welcomes leading Nordic tour operators to Ireland

Tourism Ireland is today welcoming a delegation of 23 leading Nordic tour operators on a raid with a difference to Ireland. The influential tour operators will spend four days on a fact-finding mission in Dublin, as Tourism Ireland aims to build on the growing Nordic tourism market and showcase some of what Ireland has to offer as a holiday and business tourism destination for Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish and Danish visitors.

The four-day visit kicks off in style with Scandinavian Airlines flying the delegation to Dublin in a specially-commissioned retro ‘Viking Longship Aircraft’. The Nordic tour operators will have the opportunity to meet with Irish tourism operators at a special networking workshop organised by Fáilte Ireland and also to visit key tourist attractions including the Guinness Storehouse, Malahide Castle and Avoca Handweavers.

In previous years, this networking event has taken place in the Nordic capital cities; however, in this special year of The Gathering Ireland, the tour operators are coming here for the 2013 event.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to welcome these leading Nordic tour operators to Ireland, as part of our extensive promotional programme with key influencers around the world. In 2012, visitors from Mainland Europe accounted for about 32% of all visitors to Ireland, with visitor numbers from the Nordic countries growing by an estimated +5% last year. Tourism Ireland wants to build on this momentum of continued growth.

“2013 is a very special year for tourism with a wide range of special events happening as part of The Gathering Ireland, creating a unique platform on which Tourism Ireland is capitalising around the world. Visits such as this help to enthuse overseas tour operators about Ireland and allow them to sell it as a ‘must go to’ destination.”

Alan Sparling, Country Manager, Scandinavian Airlines, said: “Scandinavian Airlines is delighted to support Tourism Ireland by bringing 23 ‘Viking’ tour operators to Dublin in this special year of The Gathering Ireland. For 47 years, SAS has been flying to Ireland and this year, in support of The Gathering, we have increased our flights to a massive 26 non-stop flights a week from Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo to Dublin.

“The main focus of The Gathering has naturally been on the core markets of the USA and GB, but we should not forget our ancestors from Scandinavia who have always shown a keen interest in our island. SAS is happy to bring as many Vikings as we can back to Ireland – in peace this time! And, of course, with the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf taking place in 2014, there are also some great opportunities for the Irish and Scandinavians to get to know each other better and SAS will be here to make that connection easier.”