Winning travel agents compete to be ‘Emerald Ireland Specialist’
Twelve top-performing travel agents from six different markets – including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, the GCC and South Africa – arrived in Ireland this week and have been enjoying an action-packed visit around the island.
Their visit is the ‘grand finale’ of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Ireland Specialists’ online training programme – which is designed for travel agents and tour operators in Australia and developing tourism markets, to help them sell holidays to the island of Ireland. The travel agents all study six different modules on the island of Ireland, completing each module with a fun quiz. Travel agents who got full marks for each module received a special, gold ‘Ireland Specialists’ certificate – and the chance to travel to the island of Ireland.
Their action-packed itinerary, designed by Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland, included Belfast, with visits to the Crumlin Road Gaol, Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic; Monasterboice, the Battle of the Boyne Centre, Newbridge Silverware and Museum and Russborough House; as well as Dublin and visits to the Guinness Storehouse and Malahide Castle. They have also been competing in fun challenges each day, including a treasure hunt in Dublin on the final day, with the overall winner taking the title of ‘Emerald Ireland Specialist’.
Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s manager Asia, said: “As a reward for excelling in their ‘Ireland Specialists’ training, we invited this group of travel agents to come and experience some of the many things to see and do on the island of Ireland. Familiarisation trips such as this are extremely important, as influential travel agents get to experience at first-hand our superb tourism offering; our aim is to enthuse the travel agents about the destination, so that when they return home they will be even better informed to advise their clients when planning and booking their holidays.
“2014 was a record year for visitor numbers from our long-haul markets and 2015 has also got off to a positive start, with the most recent CSO figures showing growth of +13% for January to May from Australia and our emerging tourism markets, an additional 20,000 visitors compared with the same five-month period last year. Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that tourism growth continues and we have an extensive programme of promotions under way throughout 2015, which includes working with key travel agents and tour operators.”
Louise O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland (standing, second right), with the winning travel agents from six different markets, at Monasterboice, Co Louth; also pictured is tour guide Min Lin Siew (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 2014, we welcomed an estimated 8.6 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.26 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.Ireland.com, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2014, Ireland.com attracted about 14.25 million visitors.