TORONTO — Tourism Ireland and 15 tour operators played host last night to a packed room of travel agents at the Four Seasons in a bid to get visitors to the Emerald Isle.
The workshop was the last stop of a three-city tour that included earlier events in Calgary and Vancouver. “It’s about educating why Ireland is a great destination for groups,” said Dana Welch, Manger, Canada at Tourism Ireland. “For agents, it’s a great revenue vehicle, so we want to arm them with the tools to develop that specific product area and also at the same time increase overall visitors to Ireland.”
Beyond the healthy commission groups bring, the reasons to look to Ireland as a group destination include the food, warm hospitality, the local experts on the ground, customization afforded by the tour operators, authentic experiences and the fact that it’s a year-round destination.
Ireland has a lot to offer niche groups in particular:
- Golf: With over 300 courses and a third of the world’s links courses, it’s a bucket-list location for golf enthusiasts.
- Screen Tourism: Film and TV buffs are flocking to see the filming locations of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Star Wars’.
- Faith-Based Travel: Ireland provides over 5,000 years of religious history, with many religions having their roots in the Emerald Isle.
- Knitting: Proving they can cater to all niches, one of the prizes last night was a spot on The Irish Tourism Group’s Knitting tour. For more information, go to irishtourism.com/knitting.
The tourism board has a lot to live up to after a record-breaking 2016. “The North American market to the Isle of Ireland really has grown exponentially over the last four to five years,” said Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President, United States & Canada for Tourism Ireland. “2016 was a record year with 1.6 million North America arrivals; of this, over 200,000 came from Canada.”
Metcalfe also recognized and reaffirmed the tourism board’s commitment to Canada. “We maintain an office in Canada, we have increased our investment in Canada, we have a separate strategy, a separate marketing plan,” she said. “We don’t lump in Canada as the 53rd state. We recognize that it is a different market [from the U.S] and as a result we have seen some strong results and performance.”
For more information, go to tourismireland.com.
Tourism Ireland and 15 tour operators played host last night to a packed room of travel agents at the Four Seasons in a bid to get visitors to the Emerald Isle.
Posted by Travelweek on Friday, February 24, 2017