General Industry

Ireland's 2018 Tourism Drive Kicks At World Travel Market

By Dave Simpson
Ireland's 2018 Tourism Drive Kicks At World Travel Market

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD joins Tourism Ireland and some 70 tourism businesses from across the Republic at World Travel Market (WTM) in London today (Monday November 6). WTM heralds the beginning of Ireland’s promotional drive overseas for the 2018 season.

Over the next three days, the Irish companies will engage in thousands of meetings with British and international tour operators to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2018. Organisers estimate that almost £3 billion’s (about €3.4 billion’s) worth of business was done at last year’s WTM. Ireland’s strong presence at World Travel Market is particularly important this year, in the context of Brexit and its implications for Irish tourism, in 2018 and beyond.

With about 182 countries and regions all vying for business at WTM, Tourism Ireland aims to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the global media and travel professionals in attendance. Tourism Ireland – working in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and industry partners – will highlight Ireland’s unique offerings for potential visitors around the world, including the Star Wars connection with Ireland, as well as experiences such as Ireland’s Ancient East, the Wild Atlantic Way and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air.

Minister Griffin said, “I am very pleased to be able to attend the World Travel Market with Tourism Ireland and the tourism sector representatives. The level of representation from Irish tourism enterprises is very encouraging, but at the same time the event demonstrates the level of competition in the marketplace and underlines the need for our sector to maintain its competitiveness. The industry representation here from Ireland knows that, while we have experienced a couple of great years in tourism, the sector is constantly evolving. Brexit is an example of this. It has resulted in a decline in visitors from the UK and this is something that both Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland are taking steps to address. However, it can also help the industry explore and develop opportunities in other markets which might not have been considered previously. That is why events such as WTM are important.”

The latest CSO figures indicate that this will be another record year for Irish tourism, with almost 7.7 million people arriving during the January to September period – an increase of 3%, or about 216,000 extra overseas visitors, when compared to 2016. Growth has come from all of our main market areas, with the exception of Great Britain (-6.7%).


Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The large representation of Irish tourism companies at World Travel Market once again this year is extremely welcome. Since the UK referendum on Brexit, Tourism Ireland has been closely monitoring developments in the British outbound travel market. As our nearest neighbour and our largest market for overseas tourism, Britain will remain a priority for us.”

Ten Northern Irish tourism businesses have also travelled to the event to kick off Northern Ireland’s own promotional drive overseas for the 2018 season.

Gibbons stated, “I am pleased to report that we have seen growth in visitor numbers to Northern Ireland from around the world this year, with the latest NISRA figures confirming that we welcomed 973,000 overseas visitors in the first half of 2017, up 4% on H1 in 2016. Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an extensive promotional programme throughout 2017, showcasing Northern Ireland around the world to prospective holidaymakers.

The recent inclusion of Belfast and the Causeway Coast as the Number One Region in the world in ‘Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018’ is wonderful news and will surely help to inspire travellers everywhere to put Belfast, the Causeway Coast and Northern Ireland on their holiday wish-list next year. Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to maximise this accolade for Northern Ireland over the coming weeks and months. Our aim is to deliver further success in 2018 and beyond, to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”

In addition to tourism attractions in the Republic, Tourism Ireland will also highlight what Northern Ireland has to offer potential visitors around the world, including its Game of Thrones connection, as well as attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast and National Trust properties.

Overseas tourism delivers about £543 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain valuable employment in local communities.

World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with about 51,500 travel professionals from around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance.