NEARLY 60 Irish tourism businesses, including a number of representatives from West Cork, have been given the opportunity to pitch directly to up to 20 of the world’s leading tour operators against a Brexit backdrop.
At a Fáilte Ireland custom-made workshop they networked with operators based in the UK and selling holidays to Britain and the Ireland to international markets including China, India, Japan, Australia and the US. Over 360 direct one-to-one meetings were set up at this workshop, in partnership with overseas marketing agency Tourism Ireland.
Paul Kelly, Fáilte Ireland’s CEO, stressed the benefits for the Irish trade involved: ‘Contacts and contracts made will assist ongoing growth in Irish tourism in 2020. The tour operators have the capacity to deliver significant amounts of visitors to Ireland throughout the year as Ireland continues to have very strong appeal as a destination as we face the continuing and escalating challenges of Brexit.
‘Last year was a record year for Irish tourism with 9.6million overseas tourists visiting our shores. The industry now generates €7.8bn in revenue and supports 260,000 jobs. This growth is not accidental. Every year the industry must be at the forefront of the international market ready to sell Ireland as a destination and adapt to ever-changing markets andvisitor preferences. This is even more important now as we face Brexit and the challenges it brings to the wider industry. This year’s event will concentrate on winning business from other lucrative global markets and I’m confident that over the coming days, our overseas delegates will see first-hand what it is that sets Ireland apart as an outstanding visitor destination.’ To showcase Ireland, Fáilte Ireland created a bespoke itinerary of tours for the buyers to learn first-hand what tourists enjoy about our country. Buyer tours provide an invaluable opportunity for overseas operators to experience our authenticity and play a key role in closing the deal and persuading these agents to choose Ireland as a holiday destination for their customers.