After more than two years without international tourism, a small village in the west of Ireland has welcomed its first European tour group since 2019
There was a sense of excitement in the small village of Lisdoonvarna, as tour operator and hotelier, Marcus White welcomed the first German tour group – who had travelled from Dublin to begin an eight-day guided tour of Ireland.
The group from Trendtours Touristik is one the first of many tours who have booked with White Travels International, one of Ireland’s leading group tour operators. The company also confirmed it will bring thousands of European visitors into Ireland between now and October, resulting in 80,000 bed nights.
Marcus White, CEO of White Travels International said: “It’s a remarkable achievement for us to be operational again and it’s a testament to all the hard work we have done behind the scenes. The past two years have been challenging, with many false starts due to uncertainties regarding the pandemic
Mr White said that the fact that he had continued to maintain strong relationships with European travel operators, including the German company, Trendtours Touristik had been key in securing new contracts for 2022 and beyond. In addition to Germany, the company will be welcoming groups from Holland, Austria, Spain and France in the coming months.
He said: “Everyone in the village is delighted to see the European tours back; from the small shop keeper to the local café’s, it has an economic benefit to the whole community.”
“St Patrick’s day traditionally marks the beginning of the tourist season in Ireland, so it is fantastic to be ahead of the curve this year. We are one of the first Irish wholesale travel companies to bring group tours back into the country.”
He also paid tribute to the support he received from the Irish government and the promotional activities from Tourism Ireland, the ‘Green button campaign’ in reigniting the tourism industry.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has predicted that there will be a strong recovery of the European travel and tourism sector in 2022. The sector is already seeing a surge of more than +250% in European bookings for Easter 2022 when compared to 2021, while summer bookings are currently +80% above last year’s levels.
However, Mr White said that due to changing global events, he thought that there would be a more gradual return to tourism in the coming months.
He said that people are still cautious about travelling post Covid and the fear over the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
“Unfortunately, the tourism industry is facing more uncertain times, the sad conflict in Ukraine is devastating not just for tourism but humanity in general.” he concluded.