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24 Aug 2016

Chinese, Indian and Australian travel agents eye the island of Ireland

Winning travel agents compete to be ‘Emerald Ireland Specialist’

Eleven (11) top-performing travel agents from six different markets – including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, the GCC and South Africa – have been enjoying an action-packed visit around the island of Ireland this week.

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 itinerary, designed by Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland, included Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and Londonderry. Then they had a chance to check out the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal and Sligo. They also took in Ireland’s Ancient East, with visits to Clonmacnoise and the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens. The travel agents have also been competing in fun challenges each day, culminating in a treasure hunt in Dublin on the final day, with the overall winner taking the title of ‘2016 Emerald Ireland Specialist’.

Aisling McDermott, Tourism Ireland’s Manager in 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.

“2015 was a record year for visitor numbers from our long-haul markets and Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues in 2016. We have an extensive programme of promotions under way, which includes working with key travel agents and tour operators in Australia, New Zealand and developing markets.”
  Louise O’Mahony, Tourism Ireland (fourth left), with some of the winning travel agents from six different markets, at Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly.

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 220,000 people.
  • In 2015, we welcomed approximately 9.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.7 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in ten language versions around the world, which attracted about 16.5 million visitors in 2015.

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