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13 Oct 2014

European tour operators give the West of Ireland the ‘thumbs up’!

French, Spanish, Italian and Scandinavian tour operators check out Galway, Mayo and Sligo and the Wild Atlantic Way

Tourism Ireland invited leading tour operators from France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia to visit the West of Ireland this week, in advance of attending a networking event with Irish tourism companies in Sligo.

The event was organised in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, to encourage the visiting tour operators to extend the Ireland content of their existing programmes or to include Ireland for the first time in their 2015 programmes. The group’s busy schedule included a walking tour of Galway, as well the Connemara Heritage & History Centre, Kylemore Abbey, Killary Harbour, Westport House, cycling along the Great Western Greenway and the Voya Seaweed Baths in Sligo.

Finola O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland’s head of Europe, said:

“Tourism Ireland is delighted that so many of these influential tour operators took time out from their busy schedules to come and visit the West of Ireland this week. Visits like this are an important element of our promotional activity with the travel trade around Mainland Europe, providing us with an excellent opportunity to showcase Ireland to key travel decision-makers; our aim is that when they return home, the tour operators will be even more enthusiastic about the destination, helping to secure a greater share of their business for Ireland.

“Mainland Europe now delivers more holidaymakers for Ireland than any other market area. And the outlook for 2014 is positive, with the latest CSO figures for the January-August period showing growth of +7% – 126,000 extra arrivals – when compared with the same eight-month period in 2013. Tourism Ireland is rolling out its autumn campaign right now around Mainland Europe to keep this momentum going – targeting late-season travellers for city breaks and rural holidays and highlighting what makes a holiday here unique and truly memorable.”

European tour operators at the Connemara Heritage & History Centre near Clifden, with Caroline Phelan, Tourism Ireland (back, second right); Martin Walsh, Connemara Heritage & History Centre (centre); Anne Melia, Fáilte Ireland (centre); and tour guide Elisabeth Flanagan tour guide (front, sixth left).

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 almost €4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.

Previous Press Release

10 Oct 2014

Northern Ireland welcomes influential Indian group