Three Irish tourism operators travelled to Manchester to join Tourism Ireland for Great Days Out, a business-to-business group travel show which attracts about 1,500 influential coach and group tour operators from around Great Britain each year.
Visitors to the show included GB coach tour operators and group travel organisers – who are responsible for putting in place arrangements for holidays and excursions overseas for groups. The one-day show provided an ideal opportunity for the participating Irish companies to network and do business face-to-face with decision-makers from the important coach and group travel sector in GB; the objective was to encourage them to introduce the island of Ireland to their programmes for 2014, or to extend the programmes in which Ireland already features. The Wild Atlantic Way, Limerick City of Culture and the Grande Partenza or ‘Big Start’ of the Giro d’Italia were some of the important themes highlighted by Tourism Ireland at this year’s Great Days Out.
Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain, said: “Great Britain is one of our largest tourism markets and 2013 saw a welcome return to growth in GB visitor numbers. Events like this provide an excellent opportunity for us to raise awareness of the many things to see and do around the island of Ireland for British visitors – underpinned by a strong value message. As well as positioning Ireland as a ‘must-visit’ destination among the influential group travel organisers in attendance, our presence at ‘Great Days Out’ was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way, as well the exciting programme of events taking place this year, including Limerick City of Culture and the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia.” Figures for 2013 from the CSO showed a welcome return to growth in British visitors of +5.6%. Tourism Ireland’s ‘GB Path to Growth’ strategy will see the number of British visitors to the island of Ireland increase by +20% i.e. an additional 200,000 holiday visitors per year by 2016. The organisation is targeting new audiences, including the younger, fun-loving set, who are looking for an exciting time in a vibrant destination (‘social energisers’), and an older audience wishing to explore new places and broaden their minds (called ‘culturally curious’).
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PIC SHOWS: Matthias Muller, Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh; Debbie Moran, Tourism Ireland; Sheila Rooney, SRC Hotels Ireland; and Dónal Hughes, 32CC Group/Irish Coaches, on the Tourism Ireland stand at Great Days Out in Manchester.