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25 Sep 2015

Influential American tour operators visit Ireland’s Ancient East

US group travel professionals eye Ireland’s Ancient East for 2016

A group of influential American tour operators has been exploring Ireland’s Ancient East this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland. They are undertaking an action-packed itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, which includes counties Tipperary, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Wicklow.

These tour operators are all group travel specialists, responsible for making the travel arrangements for a range of large groups in the United States – including choral, pilgrimage, Christian heritage and educational groups. Their fact-finding visit this week is a fantastic opportunity to showcase what Ireland’s Ancient East has to offer such groups.

The itinerary included Cork city, the Titanic Experience in Cobh and a guided walk around the Walter Raleigh Quarter in Youghal. In Waterford, they visited Waterford’s Museum of Treasures and the House of Waterford Crystal. They continued to the Dunbrody Famine Ship and the JFK Memorial Park & Arboretum, in New Ross; and then to Kilkenny, where they visited St Canice’s Cathedral, the Smithwick’s Experience and Kilkenny Castle. They also visited Glendalough, Wicklow Gaol and Powerscourt House and Gardens.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these group tour organisers to visit Ireland’s Ancient East. We believe it is extremely important for decision-makers such as these to experience for themselves the high standard of our tourism offering and the many things to see and do in Ireland’s Ancient East, so they are better equipped to advise their clients on future travel plans.

“We have seen very strong growth of +15% in North American visitors to Ireland for January to July 2015. We are determined to keep that momentum going and ensure that growth continues. Our extensive autumn campaign is now in full swing and aims to take advantage of late booking trends, as there is still plenty of business to play for.”

Ireland now welcomes 10% of all American visitors to Europe – particularly noteworthy given the intense competition from other destinations.

  American tour operators with Jean McCluskey, Tourism Ireland (back, left); Derek McGrath (fourth left) and Éamonn McEneaney (right), Waterford Museum of Treasures; tour guide Josephine O’Keefe (fourth right); and Deirdre Byrne, Fáilte Ireland (second right).

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 8.4 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.1 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2014, attracted about 14.25 million visitors.


Previous Press Release

23 Sep 2015

Targeting big business for Fermanagh!