09 September 2012
Members of the tourism industry from across the country will engage in up to 26,000 one-to-one meetings with 200 of the world’s top tour operators over the next six weeks. Fáilte Ireland will host the meetings at five custom-made workshops which will allow almost 500 Irish tourism operators to pitch directly to the cream of the global travel industry.
Over the next few weeks, each one of these “Destination Ireland” events, organized by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with their colleagues in Tourism Ireland, will focus on a particular market with the first one tomorrow (Monday 10th September) welcoming over 60 key agents from America and Canada for the North American Expo. Taking place in the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny, this event will provide a platform for the Irish tourism trade members to explore serious North American business opportunities for the 2013 season.
The North American Expo will be followed by the UK Inbound Workshop (September 20th) and the British Coach and Group Tour Operators Workshop (September 28th). In October, Fáilte Ireland will be staging an event for European Coach Operators as well as a work shop targeting trade in New and Developing Markets.
Significantly, all visiting travel agents to these events will be briefed on The Gathering 2013 and how they can work next year’s festivities into their itineraries. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar T.D. today emphasised -
“If there was ever a year to visit Ireland, then next year – the year of The Gathering - will surely be that year. I am delighted to welcome all these overseas travel operators to our shores at this crucial time when they are making their final decisions about what packages to offer their customers during 2013.
“I sincerely hope that the pitches made and deals agreed over the next few weeks will be very much reflected in increased visitors and revenue throughout next year”.
Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s North American Expo event, Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland stressed the importance of hosting events like these and the benefits for the Irish trade involved –
“The next six weeks are going to be a busy time for members of our tourism industry with a wealth of opportunities flowing from these workshop events. Next year’s ‘The Gathering 2013’ gives us an extra string to our bow and strengthens the pitch we can make.
“These overseas agents have the capacity to deliver significant amounts of visitors to Ireland and their presence here is a testimony to our enduring strong appeal as a destination and the variety and attractiveness of the Irish holiday.”
To further showcase what Ireland can truly offer, Fáilte Ireland has also put together tailor-made tours for the travel agents to get out and about, to learn at first hand more about the country, and really get an authentic taste of what an Irish holiday can offer. Mr Quinn explained:
“We design each tour to specifically match the requirements and interests of each particular market whether it be coach tour focused for the GB market or golf orientated for the US.
“These trips provide a great opportunity for overseas operators to experience first-hand the full-on Ireland experience and can play a key role in closing the deal and persuading these agents to choose Ireland as a holiday destination for their customers.”
In addition, three ‘super fams’ – familiarisation tours - for international media have been organised over the coming weeks. During 2011, these type of media tours generated broadcast and print coverage of Ireland all around the world – with an estimated advertising value of €270m.
The September big-impact media visits began this week and the first group of media to arrive are actually enjoying the highlight of the All Ireland Hurling Final today in Croke Park today. This group of 14 international travel journalists from the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Italy has been taking part in a ‘Get Sporty the Traditional Way’ media trip around Ireland over the last few days. After arriving on Thursday, they visited Dingle and the Great Blasket Islands before trying their hands at road bowling in Ballincurrig in County Cork. The hurling final today is the highlight of their trip.
Dublin will also be the focus for a second ‘super fam’centred on culture during September when the ‘Dublin Festival Season’ kicks off and a group of global media enjoy a sneak preview of what’s in store for Open House 2012 before taking in performances at the Absolut Fringe Festival and Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival 2012.
A third press trip ‘International Media Masters 2012’ will arrive later this month and head north to the wilds of Donegal where they will play a variety of links and parkland courses. The group includes top golf media from the United States, Germany, China, India, South Africa, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
For further information please contact:
Louise Tolerton - Press Officer
086 6086578/01 8847135