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29 Feb 2016

Sales blitz to boost Canadian visitors to the island of Ireland

Tourism Ireland targets group travel business from Canada

Tourism Ireland, together with a delegation of 11 tourism companies from Canada and the island of Ireland, took part in a three-city sales blitz in Canada – meeting with travel agents, tour operators, group leaders and tour planners in the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.

The sales blitz involved an ‘Ireland Always in Season” workshop in each city, where the participating tourism companies had the opportunity to network with, and sell to, more than 200 influential Canadian travel professionals – telling them all about the many opportunities the island of Ireland offers for group travel business. There was also an opportunity to meet with influential travel and lifestyle journalists in Toronto.

Key messages included Ireland’s Ancient East, Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, Dublin and Belfast, as well as the Wild Atlantic Way. Tourism Ireland was also highlighting ease of access from Canada to the island of Ireland, which is better than ever before. Aer Lingus and Air Canada rouge fly from Toronto to Dublin all year round; seasonal services are operated by Air Transat, WestJet and ASL Airlines; and a new Air Canada rouge flight for 2016 will serve visitors from Vancouver.

Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Canada, said: “We are delighted that so many key decision-makers from the group travel sector in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa took the time to meet with our tourism partners from Ireland and Canada this week, to hear about our fantastic tourism offering and the many opportunities for group travel to the island of Ireland. 2015 was the best year ever for Irish tourism from Canada – with visitor numbers increasing by +20% over 2014. We will be pulling out all the stops this year, to keep the momentum going and ensure that success continues.”

Tourism businesses who took part in the Ireland groups workshops in Canada included:

-    CIE Tours International
-    Collette Vacations
-    Crafted Ireland
-    Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
-    Griffin Hotel Group
-    The Irish Tourism Group
-    Leitrim Tourism
-    Lough Erne Resort
-    Lough Eske Castle
-    Royal Irish Tours
-    Specialized Travel Services

Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland; Sinéad McGowan, Lough Eske Castle; Ron Lonsdale and Brett Walker, both Collette Vacations; Mairéad Cullen, Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel; Sinéad McDermott, Leitrim Tourism; Steve Royston, The Irish Tourism Group; Elizabeth Scanlon, CIE Tours International; Paul Shortall, Lough Erne Resort; Crothur Murphy, Crafted Ireland; Liam Griffin, Griffin Hotel Group; and Jonathan Sargeant, Tourism Ireland, at the ‘Ireland Always in Season’ workshop in Hamilton.

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 2015, we welcomed more than 9.3 million overseas visitors to 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 more than 16.6 million visitors in 2015.


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