Members of the French Marketing Partnership Group (MPG) visited the South West this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland.
The MPG is made up of leading French tour operators, as well as air and sea carriers, and is the official vehicle for consulting with tourism partners in France. As well as acting as a fact-finding trip to Ireland, their visit was an excellent opportunity for Tourism Ireland to introduce the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ to senior travel representatives from France.
Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, is getting ready to launch Ireland’s first long-distance touring route – stretching all the way from Donegal to Cork. The route will comprise a central spine, together with a series of loops and spurs off it, to encourage people to explore all that the west coast has to offer.
The group enjoyed a walking tour of Kinsale, followed by a drive along the first steps of the Wild Atlantic Way – stretching from Clonakilty to Skibbereen and on to Mizen Head. They also enjoyed a tour of the Beara Peninsula and a visit to Dursey Island, as well as an overnight stay at the Park Hotel in Kenmare.
Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland’s manager of southern Europe, said: “We are delighted that the members of the French Marketing Partnership Group have taken the time to come to Ireland. Tourism Ireland invited this group of senior travel industry representatives here to showcase the South West and the Wild Atlantic Way. We believe this exciting new tourism experience has great potential in the French market, where the west coast of Ireland is already so popular. Our ambition is to demonstrate the easy access to Cork International Airport as a gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way.
“France is one of Ireland’s ‘top four’ markets for overseas tourism and the outlook for 2013 is positive, with the latest figures from the CSO – for the May-July 2013 period – showing growth of +11.6%, when compared with the same three-month period in 2012.”