More capacity to Ireland should make for another record-breaking year

TORONTO — Tourism Ireland is hoping to follow up on 2013’s record-breaking Canadian visitor figures with another banner year, bolstered by the promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way and a 70% increase in air capacity from this market.

Some 134,000 Canadians visited the Emerald Isle in 2013, an increase of 11%. The target for 2014 is 145,000.

Both Aer Lingus and Air Canada rouge will fly year-round to Dublin and WestJet and Air Transat have seasonal service. “We have a big job ahead of us” filling all those extra seats, but Tourism Ireland couldn’t be happier, said Jayne Shackleford, Manager, Canada for Tourism Ireland. “Ireland has never been so accessible, and so affordable.”

Shackleford and her team hosted the ‘Ireland: Always in Season’ event in Toronto yesterday, along with several representatives from Irish hotels and tour operators. Tourism Ireland wants to position the country as a year-round destination. “We’re ready for your clients now, not three years from now, not five years from now,” said Shackleford.

One new tourism offering, the Wild Atlantic Way, packages the western coast’s rugged scenery into a 2,500-kilometre, five-section long drive with 156 discovery points. Clients driving the Wild Atlantic Way “will find magic, adventures, history and beauty”, she said.

Fans of the television show Game of Thrones are also interested to hear that a large portion of the show’s filming takes place in Ireland, she added.