Ten top travel agents from Australia and New Zealand enjoyed a fact-finding visit to Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Emirates. They were here to check out some of the many things to see and do in Ireland and to find out what’s in store for holidaymakers from ‘Down Under’ during this special year of The Gathering Ireland. It was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight the excellent connectivity between Australia and Ireland, with Emirates via Dubai.
The travel agents spent time in Co Clare, enjoying a guided tour at the world-famous Cliffs of Moher, a visit to the Aillwee Caves and Poulnabrone Dolmen, and an evening at the medieval banquet at Bunratty. They also visited Connemara and Inis Mór, before continuing to Lough Rynn Castle in Co Leitrim.
Diane Butler, Tourism Ireland’s manager in Australia, said: “We are delighted that these travel agents have taken time out from their busy schedules to come and visit Ireland. For many, it was their first time here and they were extremely impressed by our wonderful scenery, the variety of things to see and do here, as well as by the hospitality and friendliness of the people they met. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important as they help the travel agents to know exactly what we have to offer potential holidaymakers from Australia and New Zealand; the aim is to really enthuse them about the destination, so that when they return home, they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans.
“The travel agents’ visit was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight The Gathering and the fantastic programme of events taking place here this year. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotions in Australia and New Zealand, and elsewhere around the world, to highlight The Gathering. As well as directly targeting the Diaspora and those with a connection to Ireland, Tourism Ireland is also working closely with influential travel agents, so that they will encourage their clients to come here this year to enjoy some of the many festivals and events of The Gathering.”
2012 was a record year for visitor numbers from Ireland’s long-haul markets. And indications for 2013 are also positive; with Etihad’s recent announcement of a +35% increase in capacity on its service from Abu Dhabi to Dublin, which is in addition to the Emirates service from Dubai, the island of Ireland is now more accessible than ever before for visitors from long-haul markets like Australia.