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13 May 2019

American tour operators check out the island of Ireland

A group of top American tour operators – all specialists in group tours and responsible for making the travel arrangements for a diverse range of large groups, including alumni groups – is visiting the island of Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism NI. 

The visiting group is undertaking an action-packed fact-finding visit, which includes the Foynes Flying Boat Maritime Museum, Bunratty Castle, Lissadell House, Castle Coole and the Ulster American Folk Park.

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

Alison Metcalfe continued: “Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure. In 2019, Tourism Ireland aims to surpass the record-breaking performance of 2018 and to grow revenue from North American visitors by +8% to €1.99 billion, generated by 2.17 million visitors.”
  US group tour operators with Paul McDonagh, Tourism Ireland (third left), at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

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 around 325,000 people across the island.
  • In 2018, we welcomed around 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+6% on 2017), delivering revenue of approximately €6.1 billion (+10%).
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 20+ million visitors in 2018.