• Cyril McAree

Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin Kicks Off Ireland’s Tourism Drive For 2019 At World’s Largest Trave

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD joined Tourism Ireland and some 70 tourism businesses from across the island of Ireland at World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week. WTM heralds the beginning of Ireland’s international promotional drive for the 2019 season.

During the three-day travel fair, the Irish companies will engage in thousands of meetings with British and international tour operators – to negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2019. Organisers estimate that £3.1 billion’s (about €3.5 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 2019 and beyond.

With around 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 our regional experiences, Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as Dublin – Surprising by nature.

Minister Griffin said: “I am delighted to be able to attend World Travel Market, which provides an excellent platform for Tourism Ireland, and the participating tourism enterprises, to highlight Ireland’s world-class tourism experience to international tour operators. It’s great to see so many tourism enterprises from all parts of Ireland conducting hundreds of business meetings and doing a great job of selling tourism to the global travel trade. While there are challenges for Irish tourism as a consequence of Brexit, I am confident that the tourism industry can adapt quickly to enable continued growth from international markets. Great Britain is, and will remain, a very important market for tourism to Ireland. The Irish Government is committed to maintaining the strong business and cultural links that have existed between our two countries for centuries. I must commend Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and all our tourism partners for their concerted efforts to address the implications of Brexit and to keep the island of Ireland high on international travel wish lists.”

Latest CSO figures indicate that this will be another record year for Irish tourism, with more than 8.2 million people arriving during the January to September period – an increase of +7%, or about 542,000 extra overseas visitors, when compared to 2017. Growth has come from all of our main market areas.

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 2019, we will continue to work with our industry partners to highlight the ease of getting to the island of Ireland, with almost 238,000 seats by air and 46,000 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 2019 another strong year for Irish tourism.”

World Travel Market is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with around 50,000 travel professionals from 182 countries and regions around the world and over 3,000 international media in attendance.

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