Luxury US Tour Operators ‘Classic Vacations’ Seeking To Put Ireland On ‘Must Visit’ Itinerary
Nine members of Classic Vacations, one of the largest high end tour operators in the US, are in Ireland to learn more about Fáilte Ireland’s tourism brands, the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin with a view to including Ireland in their itineraries for 2018. Classic Vacations have never sold Ireland before and is their first time engaging with Ireland as a destination. Their visit is hosted by Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with sister agency Tourism Ireland.
The targeting of the high net worth niche luxury markets was one of those activities highlighted recently by Fáilte Ireland when it launched its Get Brexit Ready initiative. In addition to showcasing Ireland to the tour operators a presentation was made by Fáilte Ireland’s Business Development division detailing the three tourism brands followed by a networking dinner with representatives of the Irish tourism trade at Hayfield Manor in County Cork.
Ciara Sugrue, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of International Publicity and Trade, explained –
“We know that the luxury travel market has great potential for Ireland. Indeed, Ireland has a lot to offer the discerning visitor. We hope these Classic Vacations tour operators will be suitably impressed by what they see here and will programme Ireland to their clients.”
A bespoke itinerary was designed to showcase Ireland and includes visits to counties Galway, Clare, Limerick, Cork, Mayo, Westmeath and Dublin. The group enjoyed visits to:
cruise on the Corrib Princess, listening to Irish dance and music, Dan O’Hara’s Homestead and a site visit to Ballinahinch Castle and Kylemore Abbey in Galway;
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, a Secret Ireland Escape tour with Mark O’Dwyer and the spectaurlar Cliffs of Moher in Clare;
the newly refurbished Adare Manor Resort & Spa Hotel and No 1 Pery Square Hotel & Spa, in Limerick;
a guided tour through the the romantic past of Irish whiskey at Jameson Distillery, Midleton, and site visits to Hayfield Manor Hotel and Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, in Cork
site visit to Ashford Castle and the Lodge at Ashford Castle in Mayo;
a site visit to the Wineport Lodge in Co Westmeath;
a guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse, lunch at the Brazen Head and a site visit to the Westbury Hotel and Shelbourne Hotel to end their visit in Dublin.
Fáilte Ireland is currently conducting research to develop a ‘luxury strategy’ to target growth in numbers from this lucrative sector composed of high net worth visitors who are looking for a personalised top level trip. This market is currently valued at €172bn globally.