General Industry

Tourism Minister Leads Tourism Ireland Sales Mission To Middle East

By Dave Simpson
Tourism Minister Leads Tourism Ireland Sales Mission To Middle East

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin is leading a Tourism Ireland sales mission to Abu Dhabi and Dubai this week.

Biggest Ever Sales Mission To The Middle East

It is Tourism Ireland's biggest ever sales mission to the Middle East, with a record 17 tourism businesses from Ireland taking part.

This week's progamme will include a series of workshops and networking events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the tourism companies from Ireland meeting, and doing business with, more than 200 tour operators and travel agents. The final workshop will involve meetings with luxury travel buyers from Saudi Arabia. The aim is to encourage the influential tour operators and travel agents in the Middle East to include Ireland in their programmes for 2022 and beyond.

Over the coming days, Minister Martin's schedule will include:

  • meetings with key airline and travel trade contacts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai;
  • a meeting and networking event with the Irish Business Network (IBN) Tourism Sector in Dubai;
  • the launch of the 2022 St Patrick's Festival at Expo 2020 Dubai;
  • a business roundtable lunch with key Emiratis and members of the Irish Diaspora living in the UAE;
  • and interviews with media outlets in Dubai.

Statement By Minister Martin

Minister Martin stated, "Leading Tourism Ireland's largest ever sales mission to the Middle East this week, I intend to support our efforts to bolster the recovery in our tourism sector. As we begin to emerge from the devastation wrought by COVID-19, it is imperative that we get the message out that Ireland is again open for business and that visitors know that a warm welcome awaits them when they travel here.


"This mission will help revive this crucial industry, which pre-COVID welcomed almost 11.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, saw overseas tourism contribute €5.9 billion and supported around 325,000 jobs in communities.

"There is also increasing recognition that recovery and tourism growth must be sustainable, as well as being consistent with our sectoral climate change targets and commitments.

"Tourism Ireland will be working towards the longer term goal of ensuring that we are successfully marketed as a sustainable tourism destination."

Tourism Ireland's Message

Tourism Ireland said that its message this week is that Ireland is open for business again and it cannot wait to welcome back visitors from the Middle East. The organisation will be telling prospective visitors that a warm welcome awaits them when they travel to Ireland, despite the disruption of the last couple of years.

Statement By Tourism Ireland Chief Executive

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons stated, "We are delighted that Minister Martin is joining us this week on our biggest ever sales mission to the Middle East. Our sales mission gives our tourism partners from Ireland an excellent platform to inform and influence the travel professionals they meet about what Ireland has to offer and, importantly, to encourage them to include the destination in their 2022 programmes. We want to increase their awareness of Ireland and secure a greater share of their valuable business. Our message this week - and that of our industry partners - is very simple: Ireland is open for business again and we cannot wait to welcome back visitors from the Middle East."


 Extensive Programme Of Promotional Activity

Tourism Ireland said that it will undertake an extensive programme of promotional activity in the UAE throughout 2022, and that it has strong partnerships with both Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Dubai-based Emirates, which maintained connectivity with Ireland during the pandemic.

Tourism Ireland's Green Button campaign is now under way and will run until the end of April on multiple channels, including digital, radio and outdoor, reaching approximately two million potential holidaymakers in the UAE. The campaign delivers a "book now" message and aims to single-mindedly drive visitor numbers and intention to book a trip to Ireland this year.

Tourism Ireland estimates that in pre-COVID-19 pandemic 2019, the island of Ireland welcomed 75,000 visitors from the Middle East.

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