Eleven top travel agents from Canada are visiting the west of Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Air Canada. The agents are here on a fact-finding trip, to experience at first-hand the superb holiday product on offer in this part of Ireland. Their visit comes after Air Canada’s announcement that it is to extend its current summer service between Toronto and Dublin to a year-round service for 2014 – operated by its leisure carrier Air Canada rouge.
The travel agents’ itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, includes a visit to the Famine Museum at Strokestown House in Roscommon; the Céide Fields, activities at Mount Falcon and a stop at Foxford Woollen Mills; as well as a visit to the grave of WB Yeats at Drumcliffe and a tour of Parke’s Castle.
Jayne Shackleford, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Canada, said: “We are delighted that so many of these influential travel agents took the time out of their busy schedules to come and visit the west of Ireland. Familiarisation visits such as these are extremely important, as the travel agents get to experience at first-hand the wealth of things to see and do here for Canadian holidaymakers. Our aim is that when they return to Canada they are better equipped to advise their clients about Ireland when planning and booking their holidays.
“The travel agents’ visit was also an ideal opportunity to highlight the new, year-round service from Toronto to Dublin, with Air Canada rouge, which kicks off next year. We have worked with Air Canada for many years and we look forward to working closely with Air Canada rouge to maximise the promotion of this flight. As an island, direct, convenient and competitive access services are critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism. Tourism Ireland is committed to working with Air Canada rouge, Dublin Airport and other tourism interests, through co-operative marketing, to drive demand for this service."
With more than 4 million Canadians claiming ancestral links or affiliations with the island of Ireland, Canada is an important market for tourism. Tourism Ireland has had a busy programme of promotions under way throughout 2013, in particular highlighting The Gathering Ireland and Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013.