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03 Nov 2013

Ireland’s tourism drive for 2014 kicks off at world’s largest travel fair

Major focus on Wild Atlantic Way at World Travel Market in London

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring will join Tourism Ireland and 70 tourism enterprises from across the island of Ireland at World Travel Market (WTM) in London tomorrow (Monday, 5 November), heralding the beginning of the promotional drive for the 2014 season. 

Now in its 34th year, World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with almost 50,000 representatives of the travel industry from around the world and 3,000 influential international media in attendance. According to the organisers of WTM, more than £1.8 billion’s worth of business was transacted at the event in 2012. This year, a record 70 Irish tourism enterprises – including hotels, visitor attractions, ferry companies, coach hire companies, incoming tour operators, hostels and activity providers – are exhibiting at the Tourism Ireland stand. They will engage in thousands of meetings with British and international tour operators over the next four days, as they network, negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2014.  

With more than 180 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM this week, Tourism Ireland aims to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the global media and travel trade in attendance. The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s first long-distance touring route stretching all the way from Kinsale in Co Cork to the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal, will be unveiled to the influential audience at WTM – with stunning images of the route prominently on display at the Ireland stand. Promoting the Wild Atlantic Way will be a major focus of Tourism Ireland’s activity around the globe in 2014. 

Speaking in London at WTM, Minister Michael Ring said: “I am delighted to be here again, promoting Ireland as a great place to visit at the World Travel Market. The great success of the Gathering this year has reminded the world of the warmth and welcome of Irish people, at home and abroad. Next year we will be reminding the world of just how magnificent our scenic coastline is, with the official launch of the Wild Atlantic Way – and also telling them of all the old and new things to do and see along the way.”

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The record number of our Irish tourism partners on the Tourism Ireland stand at WTM this year is extremely welcome and essential in the highly competitive global marketplace. 

“We have seen growth in visitor numbers from almost all of our markets around the world this year. In fact, we expect 2013 to be a record year for North American visitors (+14.6% up to the end of September); and for our long-haul markets (almost +14%) – with Australia and New Zealand in particular driving that growth. I am also pleased to report a return to growth in visitors from Great Britain (+3.5%); and Mainland Europe is also playing its part in growing tourism business to Ireland this year (+5%), with good increases in particular from markets like Germany, Spain, the Nordic countries and Benelux.

“Next year, we will place a major focus on highlighting the Wild Atlantic Way. We believe this exciting new tourism experience – showcasing the spectacular scenery and unique culture of the west coast – will have tremendous appeal in our markets around the world. At the beginning of next month, we will outline our plans for 2014, when we will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that the island of Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”