• Cyril McAree

Top British Tour Operators Discover The Island Of Ireland

Twenty-three (23) British coach and group tour operators, as well as a journalist writing for the Coach Tourism Association’s quarterly magazine, are exploring the island of Ireland – as guests of Tourism Ireland, Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland. They are here to attend workshops in the Waterfoot Hotel in Londonderry and the Landmark Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, where they’re meeting with local tourism enterprises to negotiate for their 2020 programmes. The tour operators are also taking part in a fact-finding visit, to experience for themselves the high standard and variety of our tourism offering. Their action-packed programme includes Hillsborough Castle, Armagh, the walled city of Derry, Fanad Head Lighthouse, Doe Castle, Sliabh Liag and Glenveagh National Park.

PIC SHOWS: British coach and group tour operators with Linda Duncan (left) and Juno Thompson (right), both Tourism Ireland, at Fanad Lighthouse.

Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland’s Head of Britain, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to invite these leading British tour operators to the island of Ireland, to see and experience some of our many visitor attractions and to encourage them to extend the Ireland content of their existing programmes and itineraries, or to include the island of Ireland for the first time in their 2020 programmes.” Britain continues to be a very important market for tourism to the island of Ireland, delivering 44% of all overseas visitors and around 25% of all overseas tourism revenue. Its contribution to the regional tourism economy and to season extension objectives are also significant, with 42% of British visitors arriving between October and March. Brexit remains an ongoing challenge for Irish tourism – giving rise to consumer concern in Britain. The fall in the value of sterling has made holidays here more expensive for British visitors – and has made Britain more affordable for visitors from many of our top markets. Therefore, attractive offers for good value fares and packages are a major focus for Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign in Britain. An extensive programme of co-operative promotions with air and sea carriers, online travel agents, as well as traditional tour operators and travel agents, is either under way or in the pipeline. Julie Wakley continued: “Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive programme of promotional activity in Britain this autumn – highlighting compelling reasons to visit the island of Ireland, as well as showing how easy it is to get here and the good value available from our industry partners. Our autumn campaign aims to take advantage of late booking trends, as there is still plenty of business to play for. One of our key objectives is to drive more business to our regions, right throughout the off-peak and shoulder season months.”

PIC 2 SHOWS: British coach tour operators visit the walled city of Derry; also pictured are Juno Thompson, Tourism Ireland (front, left); Karen Henderson, Visit Derry (front, centre); and Linda Duncan, Tourism Ireland (front, right).

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