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30 Apr 2018

Chinese, Indian, Qatari and Emirati travel agents visit the island of Ireland

Travel agents compete to be ‘Emerald Ireland Specialist’

Eight top-performing travel agents from China, India, Qatar and the UAE are enjoying an action-packed visit around the island of Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI. 

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 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 includes the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens, Kildare Village, the Cliffs of Moher, Ashford Castle, Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse, as well as a sightseeing tour of Galway city. The group will also enjoy visits to Titanic Belfast, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and a walking tour of Derry’s historic walls. The travel agents are also competing in fun challenges each day, culminating in a treasure hunt in Dublin, with the overall winner set to take the title of ‘2018 Emerald Ireland Specialist’.

“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,” said David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Asia, Middle East and UK Inbound. “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.

“In 2017, we welcomed approximately 276,000 visitors from Asia and the Middle East to Ireland, up almost +20% on 2016. We have an extensive programme of promotions under way again in 2018, which includes working with key travel agents and tour operators in China, India, and the Middle East.”
  Travel agents from China, India, Qatar and the UAE with Ruth Murray, Tourism Ireland (fourth right), at Kildare Village.

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 2017, we welcomed approximately 10.65 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.78 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.