Twenty-three (23) top UK inbound tour operators have been on a fact-finding visit of Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. They were also here to attend a B2B workshop with Irish tourism enterprises in Sligo.
The visiting tour operators are responsible for putting in place the arrangements for holidaymakers to Britain and the island of Ireland from all over the world, so the aim of their visit was to help grow Ireland’s share of the huge, worldwide tourism market, with a particular focus on increasing business from new and emerging tourism markets such as China.
The group’s action-packed itinerary included the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa, Lissadell House and Gardens, Fanad Head Lighthouse, the Giant's Causeway and a walking tour of Derry’s historic walls.
David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Asia, Middle East and UK Inbound, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite this group of UK inbound tour operators to come and experience what the island of Ireland has to offer. The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core markets of North America, Great Britain and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by ‘new’ tourism markets, which we believe will play an increasing role in the future of the travel and tourism industry. It is therefore crucial that influential operators working in these markets get to experience Ireland, and the high standard of our tourism offering, at first-hand.”
Figures issued by the CSO this week confirm that we welcomed 59,000 visitors from new and developing markets during the January to September period, up +22% on the same nine-month period in 2016. Tourism Ireland has a really extensive autumn campaign in full swing – aimed at boosting late-season travel to the island of Ireland from around the globe and at positioning us well for 2018.
UK inbound tour operators with Colleen McEnroy, Tourism Ireland (front, left), and Marlene Burke, Fáilte Ireland (front, second right), at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre in Oldbridge House, Drogheda, Co Meath.
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 281,000 people across the island.
- In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.3 billion.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.