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15 Apr 2014

Rugby Star Jonny Sexton lends a hand to promote Ireland to business travellers in France

Ireland’s Call to French business travellers

Rugby star Jonny Sexton joined Tourism Ireland in France for a promotion with a difference over the weekend. 

The business tourism promotion – targeting decision-makers from French companies who are involved in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector – took place at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir near Paris, when Sexton’s Racing Métro took on, and beat, Biarritz. The event provided an ideal opportunity for Tourism Ireland, and its partner tourism companies from Ireland, to network with the influential French buyers and to showcase and sell their product – to win a greater share of the lucrative conference and meetings business from France. 

Given Jonny Sexton’s high profile involvement with the French rugby union team (he plays as out-half), Tourism Ireland is partnering Racing Metro this year. The arrangement includes a very visible ad for Ireland at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir, where Racing Métro plays its home matches, for this season. 

Email marketing was also part of this Tourism Ireland business tourism promotion, with the organisation highlighting the island of Ireland as a world-class destination for conferences and meetings to influential French corporate buyers who use Racing Métro rugby matches for corporate hospitality.

Tourism Ireland recently unveiled a new strategy to grow visitor numbers from France and Germany over the coming three years. The plan, ‘Germany and France – A Strategy for Growth’, sets out challenging and ambitious targets, which will see the number of French visitors to the island of Ireland grow to 512,000 (+17%) by 2016.

Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said: “We are delighted that these important French business tourism buyers have taken the time to meet with our Irish industry partners, to hear about some of the superb facilities on offer right around the island of Ireland. Business tourism is an important, high yield sector and Tourism Ireland has a busy programme of promotional activity in place to grow this type of tourism in 2014. 

“2013 was a record year for French visitors to Ireland and we are undertaking an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2014, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth. I am confident that our new focused strategy will deliver on the targets we have set for growth in French visitors, between now and 2016.”

Business tourism is the most lucrative form of tourism, with visitors travelling here for business purposes spending about 2.5 times more than the average visitor. 

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
  • In 2013, we welcomed an estimated 8 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.64 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.