• Cyril McAree

Minister Griffin Kicks Off Ireland’s Tourism Drive For 2018 At World’s Largest Travel Fair

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

PIC SHOWS: Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; Joan O’Shaughnessy, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin; Star Wars character “Luke Skywalker”; and Dervla O’Neill, EPIC Ireland, at World Travel Market 2017 in London.

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.

“In 2018, we will continue to work with our industry partners to highlight the ease of getting to the island of Ireland, with almost 227,000 seats by air and 44,000 car spaces on ferries from Britain every week, as well as the wide variety of things to see and do on holiday here. Competitiveness and the value for money message will remain important. We are committed to making 2018 another strong year for Irish tourism.”

World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with about 51,500 travel professionals from 182 countries and regions around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance.

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