Tourism Ireland invited 32 of the top coach and group tour operators in Great Britain to Ireland, to attend a workshop in Waterford with Irish tourism enterprises on Friday (27 September). The event was organised in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, to encourage the visiting operators to feature Ireland as a new destination in their 2014 programmes or to extend the Ireland content of their existing programmes.
The operators also had the opportunity to take part in a familiarisation trip before and after the workshop – which included Carlow, with a visit to Altamont Gardens; Kilkenny, and a tour of Kilkenny Castle and a visit to The Hole in the Wall, the new music venue on High Street, where they were treated to a craft cider-tasting experience and a chance to sample some delicious local artisan food; Waterford, where they visited the Waterford Medieval Museum, the House of Waterford Crystal and Lismore Castle; and New Ross and the Dunbrody Famine Ship and the Ros Tapestry.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that so many of these influential coach and group tour operators took time out from their busy schedules to come and visit the South East. Great Britain is Ireland’s largest tourism market and visits like this provide an excellent opportunity for us to position the island of Ireland as a ‘must-see’ destination. The aim of the trip was to encourage the visiting tour operators to feature the South East and Ireland as a new destination in their programmes or to extend the Irish content of their existing programmes.
“Tourism Ireland is rolling out its autumn campaign right now in GB, targeting millions of potential holidaymakers for city breaks and rural holidays, highlighting what makes a holiday here unique and truly memorable. Our message is that there has never been a better time to visit, with great value and terrific things to see and do – and these coach and group tour operators have now had the chance to experience this at first-hand.”
According to the latest CSO figures (up to the end of August), visitor numbers from Great Britain have grown by +3.7% for the first eight months of this year, when compared with the same period in 2012.