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15 Feb 2022

Tourism Ireland leads biggest ever sales mission to the Middle East

Tourism Minister Gordon Lyons joins Tourism Ireland’s sales mission in Dubai

Tourism Ireland’s biggest ever sales mission to the Middle East is under way this week. A record 17 tourism businesses from the island of Ireland, including five from Northern Ireland, are taking part in the targeted mission to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Tourism Minister Gordon Lyons joined Tourism Ireland today (15 February) in Dubai.
 
This week’s busy programme includes a series of workshops and networking events, with the tourism companies from the island of Ireland meeting, and doing business with, more than 200 tour operators and travel agents. The final workshop will involve meetings with luxury travel buyers from Saudi Arabia. The aim is to encourage the influential tour operators and travel agents in the Middle East to include the island of Ireland in their programmes for 2022 and beyond.
 
Tourism Ireland’s message this week is that the island of Ireland is open for business again and we cannot wait to welcome back visitors from the Middle East. The organisation is telling prospective visitors that a warm welcome awaits them when they travel here, despite the disruption of the last couple of years.
 
Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Minister Lyons took the time to join our sales mission in Dubai. Our sales mission gives our tourism partners an excellent platform to inform and influence the travel professionals they meet about what the island of Ireland has to offer and, importantly, to encourage them to include the destination in their 2022 programmes. We want to increase their awareness of the island of Ireland and secure a greater share of their valuable business. Our message this week – and that of our industry partners – is very simple: the island of Ireland is open for business again and we cannot wait to welcome back visitors from the Middle East.”
 
Tourism Ireland will undertake an extensive programme of promotional activity in the UAE throughout 2022. The organisation has strong partnerships with both Etihad Airways (based in Abu Dhabi) and Emirates (based in Dubai), who maintained connectivity with Ireland during the pandemic.
 
Tourism Ireland’s Green Button campaign is now under way and will run until the end of April on multiple channels – including digital, radio and outdoor – reaching around 2 million potential holidaymakers in the UAE. The campaign delivers a very clear ‘book now’ message and aims to single-mindedly drive visitor numbers and intention to book a trip here this year.
 
Tourism Ireland estimates that before COVID-19, in 2019, we welcomed 75,000 visitors from the Middle East to the island of Ireland.
  David Boyce, Tourism Ireland; Eoin McGrath, Hastings Hotels; Shehab Moosa, Travel Counsellors, Dubai; Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland; Minister Gordon Lyons; Vicki Green, Andras Hotels; Judy Hutton, Game of Thrones Studio Tour; Leigh Heggarty, Galgorm; Conor Carberry, Tourism NI; and Eimear Lafferty, Titanic Belfast – in Dubai, on day two of Tourism Ireland’s 2022 sales mission.

Notes To Editors

Northern Ireland tourism companies participating in Tourism Ireland’s 2022 Middle East sales mission include:

  • Andras House
  • Galgorm
  • Game of Thrones Studio Tour
  • Hastings Hotels
  • Titanic Belfast